Friend of the site Carrington Harrison had the opportunity to spend some time with Mizzou signee and four-star wing Torrence Watson. Watson gave his thoughts on both committing and possibly becoming the circus leader bringing more St. Louis recruits to Mizzou.
Carrington Harrison (cdot): What excites you most about going to Missouri?
Torrence Watson (TW): The atmosphere around the program right now with Coach Cuonzo taking an eight-win team to 20 wins. With him being the coach and us having a close relationship, and with the way the basketball program is going, I think we can really build off what Missouri did this year and continue to get better and better each year.
cdot: Describe that relationship with Cuonzo.
TW: I think I have a great relationship with Coach. After I decommitted from Ohio State, I really got a chance to talk to him one-on-one more, and at first Coach Hollander was the main recruiter for me. But then I started talking to Coach (Cuonzo) just about every day, so I got to know who he is not just as a coach but a man as well.
cdot: What’s that process like after you decommit? You decommit from Ohio State, and I’m sure that news travels fast given that you are a high-level recruit. What’s the week to 10-day like after you decommit?
TW: It was pretty hectic, but at the same time it’s just like when you first start to get schools to recognize you as well, where a lot of different schools come at different times. So it wasn’t really new for me. But once I decided to go to Mizzou, I was happy to finally be done with the process.
cdot: How would you characterize the entire recruitment process?
TW: Starting off it was really fun, especially knowing that your dreams are closer to becoming true, and some of the big-time coaches are recruiting you, calling you, and you getting a chance to talk to them. But over time it kinda gets normal, and then towards to the end it got a little stressful. I was still happy and I’m definitely blessed to be able to say I had colleges wanting me to play for their program.
cdot: What part made it stressful?
TW: Just the part of it being every single day. I didn’t necessarily talk to every coach every single day, but at least two to three a day, and that takes time away from me being able to do homework and time away from family. So it begins to get stressful. And then all the programs were great for me to visit, and a lot of schools had the same things within their facilities, so it was just being able to pick the school with the best fit that was right for me.
cdot: I’ve read a lot about Cuonzo and his recruiting and one constant is always about him sending motivational quotes. Do you remember any of those quotes?
TW: Yeah, he sends a lot of motivational quotes. One quote that he sent me is called The Dream by Kobe Bryant, and it’s right above my bed. So I when I wake up I can see it, and in general his motto of “Attack The Day.” He’s just a motivational person.
cdot: Another thing I’ve noticed about how Cuonzo will recruit is it comes off as incredibly honest. I feel like college coaches will tell you any thing to get you to commit because that’s the name of the game, but it doesn’t feel like Cuonzo subscribes to that.
TW: I definitely agree with that. Coming in, he told me I definitely needed to get better on defense and need to be stronger with the ball. He told me I have a chance to play, but he won’t guarantee me a spot. It’s something I need to work for and something I need to earn. He’s really a straightforward person, and if you don’t like it, it’s kinda like tough luck, but he definitely sticks to what he says.
cdot: You seem really excited to be a Missouri Tiger, and I’m sure you know that not a lot of kids where you are from actually end up going to Missouri, and you seem really proud to be a Tiger. Why is that?
TW: I think it’s being a hometown kid. I know I’m not necessarily from Columbia but it’s only 2 hours away and it’s still playing for the same state. Like I said, the atmosphere and excitement has added to it. Ever since I was a little kid, I used to go to the Mizzou camps, so I always envisioned myself playing on the Mizzou floor and playing there, so I’m definitely excited for a childhood dream to come true.
cdot: If you had to say your game mirrors someone, who would you pick?
cdot: You had an incredible year. What was it like to have that kind of high school senior season?
TW: It was definitely great. Leading into the season, I knew I was going to have score the ball for my team to win. I didn’t expect to have three 50-point games, but I’m glad (I) did. Putting the work and being able to see that work pay off.
cdot: If someone has never seen you play and seen your game, how would you describe it to them?
TW: I would describe my game as being able to score on all three levels: getting to the basket, getting to the free throw line, and I think my jump-shot is probably one of the best things about my game. I’m working on being a knockdown, deadly shooter and also, coming to Missouri, I think I will able to become a good defender.
cdot: You seem like you have the personality that other recruits will want to come play with you, and you seem to enjoy that ambassador role. We talked about you being proud of your decision — do you feel like you can start a wave so to speak?
TW: It’s definitely a great feeling, Just trying to get my friends and people who I know will be best for the team to come play with us. That’s one thing my coaches have always said is I’m kind of a glue guy when it comes to even off the court stuff and bringing everyone together. So hopefully that’s what I can do to get guys like Courtney [Ramey] and E.J. [Liddell] here.
cdot: What’s the next couple of months like for you before you go to college?
TW: Right now it’s starting to get my nutrition better. I understand that if I want to perform at a high level, I have to eat right as well. I just started my weight plan, so I’ve been working out, so hopefully I’m not behind when I come to Missouri so I’m on a level playing field with everyone else. One thing especially is getting my footwork ready, I understand playing in the SEC with the type of conference it is, I won’t be able to do all the things I was able to do in high school. So getting ready and getting reps in things I will have to do in college is my main focus right now.
cdot: Let’s go rapid fire to give people an idea of who you are off the court. Before the game who are you listening to?
TW: I listen to a lot of Lil Uzi Vert, and I like to listen to slow music to kinda calm me down.
cdot: Favorite movie?
TW: Rocky series and The Blind Side.
cdot: Favorite candy?
TW: White chocolate Hershey’s.
cdot: Bone in or bone out?
TW: Bone in. I’m not a big fan of boneless.
cdot: I’ve kept for you long enough, so I’ll let you get going. Thanks for taking the time. Any thing else you’d like to add?
TW: I’m just glad to be a Tiger.