LSU got a big late addition to its 2019 recruiting class on Monday, landing the commitment of five-star forward Trendon Watford.
Watford, ranked No. 17 nationally on the 247Sports Composite, chose the Tigers over a final four that also included Indiana, Memphis and Alabama. The 6"9" forward out of Mountain Brook (Ala.) H.S. is the younger brother of former Hoosiers player Christian Watford, who hit one of the most famous shots in Indiana basketball history.
SI.com NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo breaks down Watford’s game and what LSU is getting:
"Watford is a skilled forward who provides frontcourt versatility with his ability to handle, move the ball and knock down shots on the perimeter. Although he is not an exceptional leaper, he has good size and length for the position and has worked himself into improved shape over the course of his high school career. That being said, his defensive limitations will likely confine him to playing the four. Dribble creation is not his strength, but he’s a capable face-up player who must continue to improve the consistency of his jumper to maximize his potential. Watford is not an obvious one-and-done candidate at this point, but with a good freshman year shooting the ball, it could be within reach. He has the polish and feel to be impactful right away."
Watford was thought to favor LSU earlier in his recruitment, but the March saga of head coach Will Wade cast uncertainty on the school’s entire recruiting situation. Wade was suspended on March 8 after declining to speak with school officials as part of an investigation into a wiretapped phone conversation with a recruiting middleman, then was reinstated a month later after meeting with university and NCAA officials.
The addition of Watford is big for a Tigers team that, despite getting the recent news that guard Javonte Smart will return for his sophomore season, seems poised to lose multiple players to the NBA draft. Guards Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays and Marlon Taylor and big men Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams have all declared, and even if all of them don’t ultimately remain in the draft, it’s clear Wade is going to have roster holes to fill. Watford is the third member of the Tigers’ 2019 class, joining three-star guard James Bishop and junior college guard Charles Manning.
LSU is coming off a banner season in which it won the SEC regular season title, reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006 and totaled 28 victories, tied for second-most in program history.