“I’m a Screaming Eagle”: Coach Watson looks toward upcoming season

Jimmy Pyles

Next season is far away but men’s basketball Head Coach Rodney Watson has a lot to do before he’s ready for next year.

Watson is out on the road now trying to fill spots for the four leaving seniors – Kenyon Smith, Travis Jones, Melvyn Little and Keith DeWitt.

DeWitt might stay

DeWitt, the 6’9” and 220-pound center/forward transfer from the University of Southern Mississippi, played 27 games and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 14.9 points per game in his first – but maybe not last – season with the Eagles.

Watson is in the process of trying to get DeWitt to play a second season at USI after he played only two games at Southern Miss last year.

“We are trying see if it’s possible to get a hardship waiver on that season,” Watson said. “There has to be a lot of information collected and it’s going to be a while before we know anything about his eligibility.”

Unless Watson has DeWitt’s season at Southern Miss waived, he will have used all four years of eligibility.

Recruiting

With or without DeWitt, the team is trying to get three types of players – point guards, wing shooters and bigs, Watson said.

“We are always looking for the same thing, regardless,” he said. “You can never have enough bigs, because they are so hard to come by.”

Watson would have to fill the shoes of DeWitt, who was named the first team All-Midwest, and guard Kenyon Smith, who has been named GLVC All-Defensive two years in a row.

“Someone who plays like Kenyon is hard to go out and recruit, but someone that is currently here is going to have to step up to fill that role,” Watson said.

In the two seasons Smith has played with the Eagles, he has recorded 324 rebounds, 110 steals and 374 points in just 61 games.

“That is going to be an interesting situation because for two years we have been pretty spoiled by a guy who we know is going to guard their best perimeter player,“ Watson said.

One area the team really needs help with is perimeter shooting, Watson said. He also needs a point guard for the future.

“We have Lawrence Thomas, who should be fine for next year, but things come up,” Watson said. “We need to make sure that position is taken care of not just next year, but after.”

Watson stays an Eagle

Watson is now in his fourth year coaching the Eagles. He currently owns a 94-23 overall record and a 54-18 record in the GLVC.

Last year Watson coached the team to its third GLVC tournament title in program history.

Despite being mentioned in The Star Press in Muncie as a possible target for Ball State’s head coaching position, Watson said there is nothing to talk about.

“There has been no communication whatsoever with any other school,” Watson said. “I’m a Screaming Eagle.”