ATLANTA – Mountain Brook (Ala.) High School star Trendon Watford had been focused on four schools – Alabama, Memphis, LSU and Indiana – ever since mid-December, but earlier this month Duke reached out and expressed interest in the 6-foot-9 forward and, just like that, Watford’s list expanded to five.
It’s uncommon for elite players to add schools so late in the recruitment process, but Watford said Duke is “one of those schools you have to listen to no matter when they jump in.”
“It’s Duke, it’s Coach K, so it is what it is,” said Watford, who will suit up for the East in the McDonald’s All-American Game Wednesday (7 p.m., ESPN2) at State Farm Arena. “You definitely have to give Duke a shot because I know there’s a lot to offer there.”
This past season, Watford, who is ranked No. 14 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25, averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds a game and led the No. 5 Spartans to their third-straight state title, the first team in Alabama history to do that in the state’s highest classification.
Watford said Duke’s sell of loading the roster with elite versatile players and letting them make plays was attractive for him.
“They really feel like I would be able to thrive in their system because I can do so many things,” Watford said. “I like the idea of playing with other elite players; I feel like that makes me so much better. Look at what they did with their super-team this year.”
Watford said he’s getting an earful from Duke signees Wendell Moore Jr. and Vernon Carey Jr., his teammates for the East.
“I’ve been talking to guys like Wendell (Moore) and Vernon (Carey) down here at McDonald’s,” Watford said. “I’ve played with both of them before and we had a good chemistry. They haven’t offered yet, but I think it’s something they want to do personally. I’m definitely gonna take an official visit to Duke after everything slows down.”
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