Know the Prospect: Mitchell Watt

Wait, that's the wrong Watt... (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

What's good P&T? It's your draft dodger Ross Bernhardt back with some more Know the Prospect action. Just a bit of a programming notice for you all. Things might slow down slightly on the KTP front, but I will do my very best to meet the accommodate the prospect requests. I tried to get ahead of the game by doing some this weekend, but failed miserably in that regard. I did get a chance to take a look at one prospect, who was requested by Jesus and Ham on Rye.

Mitchell Watt is a senior forward for SUNY Buffalo (which should be pronounced State University of New York AT Buffalo) Bulls. I actually spend a lot of time in Buffalo every year since I have family there. I attended SUNY Buffalo's basketball camp two different years as a kid, and my Aunt actually works at the university. As a result, she and my uncle attends most of the basketball games. Since I knew you guys would be interested, I got my Aunt and Uncle's take on Mr. Watt:

Well your uncle and I both really like Mitchell. We remember his first games as a freshman. He was tall, but extremely awkward. By his senior year he had developed into a very solid player and even developed a pretty good mid range and 3-point shot which was great because nobody ever expected him to take those so he was usually wide open. I don't know if you've read about how sick he was sophomore year. None of us ever heard about it until this year because he didn't want a big deal made of it. He got Guillain-Barre Syndrome (immune system attacks the nervous system) and they weren't even sure he'd be able to walk again. You can google him and read further about that amazing side story. Anyway, he seems pretty mature on the court i.e. no hot dogging or hot headedness and is a team player. His dad is black and mom white - they both came to senior night all the way from Arizona. There seemed to be an amazing improvement over the summer before his senior year - he put some needed muscle and weight on and really played all aspects of his game so much better. He's not afraid to play tough and get beat up under the basket. I wish him luck - he's worked hard and deserves it.

That certainly whetted my appetite to learn more about this guy. JUMP (like the impostor in the image to the right)!

Mitchell Watt is a 6'10" forward hailing from Goodyear, Arizona. He didn't break out at Buffalo until his senior season, and the aforementioned illness had a lot to do with his underperformance in a MAC conference that isn't really known for great competition. According to WebMD, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune disease (similar to MS) that causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, and numbness/tingling all over your body. He was able to overcome this with a lot of hard work and without using the disease as a crutch. This year he averaged 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and earned MAC Player of the Year honors. He impressed scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April, and will look to build on that in workouts going forward. He is a highly athletic forward with good length, and makes for an intriguing prospect.

The Rundown:

Measurements: Height (w/o shoes) - 6'8" (w shoes) - 6'9"/6'10"; Weight - 225 lb; Wingspan - 7'; Lane Agility - 11.63

Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 50 at NBADraft.net, doesn't show up anywhere else.

Actual Profiles/Stats: NBADraft.net, Draft Express (Finding a Niche piece), Stat Sheet, Buffalo Athletics team profile

Amateur Take - Offense: I haven't seen Watt play. Ever. I tried to watch a UB game this year during Bracket Busters, but lost interest when they fell behind big early. But Watt was the guy this year for Buffalo on offense. He shot a pretty ridiculous 58% on two-point shots, and he gets a lot of his buckets with dunks. He also uses his feathery lefty stroke out all the way out to near the three point line. Watt didn't shoot great from three (a modest 32.4%) but is a decent enough shooter to stretch the floor out and has the form to improve further at the next level. Watt is also a decent passer, as he finished with 2.3 assists a game during his senior season.

Watt has to get stronger in order to be a more complete forward. According to the profile on Draft Express, he is a solid finisher inside, but has trouble finishing through contact. Adding strength and muscle will help.

Amateur Take - Defense: Defense is an area that Watt has a lot of potential to make an impact. He is a terrific shot blocker. Last season, he averaged 2.2 a game, good for top 40 in the nation. His length, leaping ability, and timing help him a lot in that regard. He's a great help defender and overall an excellent communicator on defense. He isn't the greatest rebounder (just 5.4 defensive rebounds a game) and he tends to be a bit foul prone.

From the Scouts: From Joseph Treutlein's Draft Express piece:

While Watt wasn't consistently featured in the pick-and-roll game this season (just 15 of his 465 possessions logged by Synergy were tagged as pick-and-roll), he certainly has an intriguing set of tools to play the pick-and-roll game in the NBA, being a more than capable finisher both hitting jumpers and diving to the basket.

As far as finishing in the paint goes, Watt did a good share of getting to the rim off the ball this year, be it in pick-and-rolls, cuts, or attacking the offensive glass. He shows good hands catching the ball on the move, very good coordination, nice extension to go under the rim, and good touch on finesse finishes. Watt also shows nice reactive athleticism elevating around the rim, especially when unguarded, but shows more trouble utilizing his athleticism when having to deal with contact. He doesn't show much propensity for finishing through defenders and seems to be lacking in his power game both with his upper and lower body, something he'll definitely need to work on to have continued success in this area in the pros.

Random Red Flag: Obviously his health is a something that you would want to keep an eye on, especially with something as serious as an autoimmune disorder.

The Clyde Factor: I hope Clyde would call him "Mitch" to be chill, or something like "Mitchland" to be a bit more formal. He already earned the nickname "SWatt" so Clyde could have fun with block-related puns. I could definitely see some electricity-themed calls as well, but he better not use my rapper name "Young JigaWatt" or else he will have a nice lawsuit to deal with. You think I want to sue Clyde??

Knick Knacks:

Let's Get Reel:

Buffalo Basketball- MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt (via Jordan Gleason)

Mitchell Watt Block-Dunk (via TrueBlueUBathletics)

Mitchell Watt Dunk (via UBSID)

Mitchell Watt Voted MAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year (via UBNOW)

What We Learned:

  • Cut that man a slice of humble pie.
  • This guy is springy. The way he explodes up for some of those dunks and blocks looks just effortless.
  • Speaking of effortless, that shooting stroke of his is pretty damn smooth. He looks confident with it too, almost out to three.
  • I would pay to watch him and Iman Shumpert dunk in practice.
  • He made some slick passes in there too. The guy just does a lot of little things.

In Conclusion: Watt looks like a decent prospect with a great story. At NBADraft.net, they compare him to James Augustine, which isn't great. But a commenter on UB's SB Nation blog UB Bull Run had a more interesting comparison: Taj Gibson. Gibson is definitely a little stronger, but Watt seems better offensively than him at this stage. He looks like a smaller, more athletic, lefty version of Josh Harrellson, and if Jorts could give us quality minutes, so could this kid. I would have to see who else is on the board before I took this kid, but he's definitely someone to keep an eye on. You can never have enough guys that give you intangibles like Watt: defense, hustle, and a willingness to do the little things. He's a bit of a project, but as far as projects go, one that is further along than most.

What do you guys think?

Ross Bernhardt (viva_morrison). You can find me on the web writing over at CHARGED.fm or on Twitter @ross_bernhardt.

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