In this USC women’s basketball preview, we take an in-depth look at the rising star, JuJu Watkins, and how her presence is transforming the program’s future.
USC’s New Era
USC women’s basketball has witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent years. Their participation in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 marked the beginning of a new era. Coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s arrival in 2021 was seen as a game-changer, aiming to restore the glory of the program’s past, reminiscent of legends like Cheryl Miller, Lisa Leslie, and Tina Thompson.
Now, the Trojans have entered the "JuJu era," with JuJu Watkins taking center stage. Watkins, a standout talent, has the potential to become the face of women’s basketball, joining the ranks of current stars like Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, and Paige Bueckers. Let’s delve deeper into what makes JuJu Watkins so special.
JuJu Watkins: A Rising Star
JuJu Watkins’ decision to choose her hometown team, USC, over other basketball powerhouses like Stanford and South Carolina has brought unprecedented excitement to the program. Watkins is the most significant star to emerge for USC in the social media era, and the anticipation around her is palpable. However, what truly sets Watkins apart is her unwavering focus on the team’s success.
Despite the spotlight on her, Watkins remains a team player at heart. She prioritizes the collective goal above all else, exemplifying her commitment to contributing to the team’s success. This selflessness is a testament to her maturity and sportsmanship, which are qualities that have quickly endeared her to both teammates and fans.
The Trojan’s Roster Transformation
Watkins is not alone in her quest to elevate USC women’s basketball. She joins forces with fellow freshman Malia Samuels and several transfers who aim to fill the gaps left by departing starters. Notably, Coach Gottlieb has made some strategic acquisitions from the Ivy League, including forwards Kaitlin Davis, McKenzie Forbes, and guard Kayla Padilla, alongside guard Roxana Makolo from Texas Christian.
The addition of these new players does not change USC’s primary objective: winning. The Trojans set a formidable defensive standard last season, holding opposing teams to an average of just 55.1 points per game, a school record. This success was driven by guard Kayla Williams’ relentless on-ball pressure and Rayah Marshall’s dominance in the paint, surpassing even Leslie’s record for blocks in a season.
USC’s Ambitious Vision
USC women’s basketball is not content with merely participating in the NCAA tournament; they aspire to become a national powerhouse once again. The program’s ultimate goal is to reach the same heights as basketball juggernauts like Connecticut or South Carolina, drawing the same fervent reactions from fans.
Coach Gottlieb, who previously helped California reach its first Final Four in 2013, has instilled this ambitious vision in her young players. The enthusiastic response from fans, even after just one tournament appearance, fuels her belief that USC women’s basketball is well on its way to achieving national recognition and success.
USC women’s basketball preview: All eyes on JuJu Watkins. A new era is dawning, and the Trojans are ready to rise to the challenge with JuJu Watkins leading the way.
USC’s Ambitious Vision: From Tournament Appearance to National Power
Could JuJu Watkins be the next face of women’s basketball?
JuJu Watkins signifies a new era for USC women’s basketball. Her extraordinary talent positions her as a potential future icon in women’s basketball, joining the ranks of current stars like Angel Reese from Louisiana State, Caitlin Clark from Iowa, and Paige Bueckers from Connecticut. This rising star’s emergence is turning heads and making fans wonder, "Could JuJu Watkins be the next face of women’s basketball?" With a unique blend of skills and charisma, she’s on the path to making a significant impact on the sport.
Who is Judea Watkins?
Judea “JuJu” Watkins, hailed as the No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in the Class of 2023 by ESPN, made headlines when she announced her commitment to USC. Despite offers from powerhouse programs like Stanford and South Carolina, Watkins chose the Trojans. This rising star’s decision is sparking intrigue and enthusiasm in the world of women’s basketball, as fans and experts eagerly anticipate the impact she will have at USC.
Does Juju Watkins worry about expectations?
JuJu Watkins of Southern California maintains a grounded perspective as she embarks on her college basketball journey. She remains focused and undistracted by the weighty expectations surrounding her. In her own words, "I don’t worry too much about what other people think I should do or how they think I should approach the game." This commitment to staying true to her own path was evident as she addressed reporters at the Pac-12 Media Day event, reflecting her determination to play the game on her terms.
Why does Juju Watkins decorate her parents’ Seattle home?
The mystery behind Juju Watkins’ University of Washington mathematics degree as a decorative piece in her parents’ Seattle home lies in her career path. Given that she doesn’t utilize her mathematics degree for professional work, it serves as a unique and personal decoration. While her academic pursuits have taken an artistic turn, on the basketball court, USC is striving to build upon their previous season’s success, fueled by the presence of star freshman JuJu Watkins and other promising newcomers, as they set their sights on a deep NCAA tournament run.
What are JuJu Watkins’ achievements in basketball?
JuJu Watkins’ basketball journey has been marked by remarkable achievements. She secured gold medals with USC at both the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup and the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, underlining her excellence on the international stage. Her exceptional talents also earned her a spot on the 2023 USA Women’s Nike Hoop Summit Team, solidifying her status as a rising star in the world of women’s basketball.
What impact is JuJu Watkins having on USC women’s basketball?
JuJu Watkins is making a significant impact on USC women’s basketball. Her influence on the program has been evident from the outset. Following the program’s success in the previous year, she has not only maintained but raised the bar higher among her teammates. Early on, she earned the respect of her peers, effectively living up to her status as the No. 1 recruit in the country. Watkins is a catalyst for elevated standards and a driving force in the team’s pursuit of excellence.