While the spotlight this season for Spire Institute has been on LaMelo Ball, teammate and fellow highly-touted prospect Rocket Watts stole it away in huge fashion on Saturday night.
Watts poured in 64 points for Spire as the team crossed the century mark in its highest-scoring game of the year, downing St. Edward (Ohio) 122-86. Watts, a Michigan State commit, buried 15 three-pointers on the night and was hitting them from NBA range on multiple occasions as Spire overcame yet another feisty, if not at times overly emotion, opponent.
Ball had one of his poorer shooting nights but deferred to Watts on more than one occasion, finishing with a modest double-double of 17 points and 10 assists. Isaiah Jackson tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks.
As often the case with Spire, a slow start kept the game close with foul trouble to the bigs of Spire causing early concern. Watts, though, carried the load, hitting 10 first-half three-pointers for 40 total points. Ball, meanwhile, fed the hot hand with seven first-half assists.
Throughout the contest, emotions were flying high with plenty of technicals handed out on the night, including one to Watts early on the night. With fans and teams psyched up mentally and emotionally for Spire to visit, it’s become a common theme in games for Spire this season.
Like Ball, Watts was snubbed from the McDonald’s All-American game. Watts comes in a bit further down the list than Ball on the ESPN 2019 Top 100 but is still a top-30 prospect at 29th overall nationally.
His eye-catching numbers on Saturday night, though, will certainly catch the eyes of many across the high school recruiting landscape and may yet land him a spot in other big All-Star games after the season.