2022 Totino Grace (MN) forward Demarion Watson talks about NIL and Gophers recruiting

Interview conducted by Chris Monter

Demarion Watson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Fridley (MN) Totino Grace, is one of the top players in the Midwest in the Class of 2022 and is ranked as the number four senior in the state by Prep Hoops.


Watson averaged 12.6 points per game this past season. He scored in double figures in 14 of 21 games as the Eagles finished 16-5. They led Class AAA champ Minnehaha Academy, Watson’s former school, by 15 points in the first half before losing 73-60 in the section finals.


GopherHole caught up with Watson June 19th at the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association D1 Showcase to learn the latest on his college recruitment and upcoming senior year.


Gopher Hole: You are playing out here in front of all the college coaches. Is it kind of nice the coaches? You haven’t seen them watch you play for over a year. What’s that like?


Demarion Watson: It’s nice, especially because they can finally see us in person. See how good of a teammate we are. Our mannerisms on the court when things are going good and bad. It’s just something new, especially with my class and the younger classes, we’ve never experienced something like that since freshman year. It’s a big adjustment. This whole past year has been a big adjustment.


GopherHole: Has that made the recruiting process a little harder, because you haven’t had that face-to-face with the coaches?


Demarion Watson: Yes, it is hard to make a decision, if you can’t really see them face to face. Anybody can say anything on the phone, but face to face, you can actually see their expressions and how passionate they are about you.


GopherHole: What’s the latest with your recruitment? I know that you were down to Minnesota recently for a visit. What was that like?


Demarion Watson: It was nice. I really love the facilities. Coach Thorson been telling me to also take in account the geography, like the dorms are really close to the facility, so it is a quick five minute walk to the facility, if I want to get shots, any time of the day I can. They were just telling me the vision they have for me. They see me as a “3.” They see me as a person who can stretch the floor and bring up the ball. Kind of just do it all. Post up. They want to go up and down fast and shoot a lot of threes, so I think Coach Johnson is really setting the new age of basketball in his program.


GopherHole: I know that Coach Johnson has made it a priority to keep a lot of the top talent and in-state kids at Minnesota. Is that something that they have stressed to you that they would love to have you stay home?


Demarion Watson: For sure, especially with the new Name and Likeness stuff that is going on. It would be a great business decision for me to stay home and just be that “hometown hero,” I guess. It would boost my name and likeness a lot, especially because I am already known here. I’m kind of like a known figure, I guess.


GopherHole: What other schools are you planning on visiting here in the next weeks or months?


Demarion Watson: I take an official visit to Iowa State next week. Vanderbilt has been saying that they want me for a visit and Cal.


GopherHole: Have you narrowed down your list of schools? Are you still open to new schools?


Demarion Watson: I’m still open. I’m probably going to narrow it down after the summer and see how that goes, just because with all this new recruitment going on and colleges can finally see us, I’m expecting a few colleges to come in the mix.


GopherHole: What are going to be the main factors that make you pick School A over School B or C?


Demarion Watson: Definitely, the relationship with the coaches. I really like relationships.


GopherHole: You have a lot of talent on your team with you, Taison Chatman, the top player in the Class of 2023 and C.J. O’Hara. It might be tough for some teams to have that much individual talent, but you guys seem to play well together. How important is that to your success?


Demarion Watson: Our team, we share the ball well. We kind of know each other’s games already since we have been playing together for so long. I really love our team. We have fun every game. We have a good bond. We call ourselves a brotherhood.


GopherHole: What is it going to mean to walk on your court as a college freshman for your first game?


Demarion Watson: It is going to mean a lot. Finally to get to step on that floor wherever I pick. Wherever I pick, is going to be my dream school and I feel like if I just calm down, I’ll be fine and hopefully, keep what I am doing in high school going into college and hopefully on to the next level.

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