Brennan Watkins (2021) was 1 of four non-seniors to be named to the Missouri 4A All-State team for the 2019-2020 season–Nicholas Kern and Taj Manning being the other two. Waktins, a 5-11 point guard from Kearney High School, brings it all the time on the court and in the classroom. Watkins carries a 4.07 GPA and put together a shooting season worth noting: 24ppg & 44% from 3-pt. He also chipped in 3.7rpg, 2.6apg, and shot 89% from the Free Throw line.
We’ve seen Watkins play a lot this past year and even had him at our Larry Hughes Elite Camp. He was the best shooters at camp and one of the best in the entire Kansas City area, if not the best.
We caught up with Watkins to talk more about the season and what’s ahead.
RLH: It was an up-and-down season for you all at Kearney finishing 12-14. Tell us a little more about how things went.
BW: We had a pretty good team this year but never really got going because sickness really hurt us. Throughout the first three-fourths of the season, most of our team was struck with sickness which left us with 6-7 players each game. A lot of these games we were winning or were close but we wore out in the last minutes of the game. Once we got the rest of the team back we weren’t able to get our chemistry back. I am not one to ever make excuses but the teams we were facing had a minimum of 3 guys to sometimes the whole team that played AAU basketball while I was the only one from my school that played AAU.
RLH: What positives can you take away from this past year?
BW: This past season helped a lot for me in being a leader on and off the floor because most of my teammates had no varsity experience under their belt and a lot of players were younger and were looking at me as a role model.
RLH: You were the only returning starter on your team, so how did you handle defenses knowing that you’re the go-to guy on offense?
BW: It was exciting to know that the whole defense was looking to stop me each and every game, it was a challenge I loved to take on. Every game was a different defense from double teams to box in ones to fresh defenders every three minutes. Facing these types of defenses only strengthens my game.
RLH: What was your single most favorite individual accomplishment from this past season?
BW: My most favorite individual accomplishment on the season was reaching 1000 points. Not many players reach 1000 points in their career and for me to reach it as a Junior was really exciting.
RLH: You’re one of the top players in the state in your class. What is your case on why you should be #1?
BW: I don’t want to sound overly confident but in my eyes, I am number one, I just haven’t received the publicity that some of the other players have. I play for a terrific AAU program but we are fairly a new program and don’t receive some of the publicity that some of the more established programs receive. We beat a lot of those teams and made it to the championship game at every tournament, except one, we went to last year. At the end of the day I want to make my case for being number #1 on the court and all I want is the chance to prove that. I was really looking forward to this summer. I know it was going to be huge!!
RLH: If a college coach asked what are the strong parts of your game? What would you say
BW: I’d say the strong parts of my game are shooting, ball handling, and my decision making/IQ.
RLH: What are you doing to improve as a basketball player?
BW: Working with trainers on all aspects of my game: dribbling, shooting, and defense. I’m really concentrating on getting faster, stronger, and more explosive. I’m also watching a lot of game tape to see where my game needs improvement.
RLH: You shot 44% from 3-pt and made 90 on the year…that is 3.5 per game. Who do you watch to model your shot and consistency after?
BW: I study all of the great shooters; Steph Curry, J.J. Reddick, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller to see if there is anything new I can add to improve my shot but I really don’t model my shot after anyone. My dad taught me how to shoot a basketball the right way when I was in first grade. I work on improving my efficiency every year.
RLH: Covid-19 has derailed AAU basketball for the time being. What are you doing to stay prepared if-and-when things open back up? And which team will you be playing for?
BW: I am working out every day and staying in shape. When I’m not working out I am watching film over my high school games to see what I can do to improve as a player and leader on the floor. This AAU season I will be running with Marcus Denmon Elite again.