A new season is under way for Oakland University's Men's Basketball, and shooting guard Rocket Watts has never felt more ready to dominate.
Former Michigan State Spartan and Mississippi State Bulldog Watts has found a new home among the Golden Grizzlies. Coming off a disappointing year due to a hip injury at Mississippi State, Watts is excited to take the court with some of Oakland's most elite players.
Image courtesy of goldengrizzlies.com
“Being back home, I feel like all my confidence is back playing around a lot of good guys and playing for a great coach that believes in me,” Watts said. “Seeing the great fans cheer me on that means a lot to me, so I feel like I’m in a great mental space right now, and I’m excited.”
As a former member of the Big Ten and SEC conference, Watts has become accustomed to performing at a high level and fast pace. Head coach Greg Kampe has been working on a pace for several years.
While it may be a new team and environment, Watts is dedicated to perfecting his craft and making the correct adjustments to his playstyle that will benefit the team and add to the successful legacy of Oakland basketball.
“Playing for Coach Kampe the pace is really fast, and I feel like it’s the same pace as the SEC, but I adjust to it real fast,” Watts said. “Playing for coach Kampe, I know it’s going to be a great year, and I’m looking forward to playing at that pace.”
While Oakland is a Mid-Major school, it often gets overlooked as a school that produces high-level athletes with the potential to make it to the NBA.
In opposition, Oakland basketball has produced star talents that have performed at the professional level, such as Kay Felder, Kendrick Nunn, and most recent, Jamal Cain, all of whom dedicated themselves to the program and culture coach Kampe created, and Watts is no different.
Although some people may try to speculate that Watts has fallen off, He refuses to listen to the talk and focus on his teammates and playing his game, and that's why he chose to come to Oakland to be a part of an enriching team that elevates his game.
“My biggest focus is staying healthy and winning because no matter if you’re doing good or bad, people will always have things to say about you,” Watts said. “I just really enjoy the game and enjoy winning …. I’m just focused on working hard and bonding with my teammates.”
Sitting back and watching has never been an option for Watts; he plans to be an active leader in victory and defeat and rally the team to a successful season. He wants to be the guy the team looks to for inspiration and encouragement.
“I never take a step back and just observe; I’ve always been Rocket Watts, and Rocket Watts is a high-level player that shoots the ball and plays both ends, defense, and offense,” Watts said. “My role is just to be me, have fun, knock down open shots, and bring the energy.”
Continuing to develop with the team, Watts has built a strong relationship with coach Kampe that gives Kampe faith in the leadership and work ethic on and off the court.
“We think we know what we are doing with transfers that can score the ball, and we think we can put them in a really good position for a great year, and if he has a great year, we should have a great year.”