John Groce is in quick pursuit of another transfer, who plays the point guard position and plays it well. His name is Mo Watson Jr. You remember him, don't you?
He's a pesky, talented ball player. When I interviewed Boston University blogger Shep Hayes prior to our NIT game, he said to keep your eyes peeled.
Maurice Watson, Jr. You probably know his type, one of the "best point guards you're not watching." The sophomore was recruited by a group of Ivies, Rice and Texas Tech, and is a little small (which many think is one of the reasons he wasn't recruited by a major conference team), but is a tremendously good basketball player. He's quick, an excellent ball handler and can pass with skill and ease.
He's second in the country in assist rate and 27th in steal percentage. He's an average-but-not-great 3-point shooter and he's struggled a bit at the line, but watching him drive to the hoop is absolutely beautiful.
That last bit about the beautiful drives was confirmed soon after tip-off.
Does Watson Jr. make plays like that a lot? Holy hell.— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) March 19, 2014
Watson finished the game with seven points and 12 assists. After their season ended at the hands of the Illini, Watson soon declared his intent to transfer, citing his desire to play for a bigger team on a bigger stage. Illinois targeted him immediately.
He would have to sit out a year, which would leave him with two more eligible seasons beginning in 2015. Last week's mission statement still applies here - 2015 Point Guards: As long as we don't get zero.
Watson, a BU transfer, tells me he's got an in-home visit with Illinois this week + visiting Creighton this weekend. Planning more visits.— Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) April 9, 2014
Watson's visit with Illinois is good news in and of itself, but it signifies more, of course. The bigger point here is that Groce continues to hustle after transfers, almost as if he knows there will be a scholarship available, or something. It's the same point we've made before (linked to the right).
Someone has to be leaving. I don't know who or why, but I suspect Austin Colbert and I guess it's due to playing time. The "who" could also be Jaylon Tate, I suppose, and the "why" could be more disgusting and Crean-y, but I'm not ready to embrace either of those two rumors yet.
Regardless, someone has to be leaving. The writing is all over the wall, in the corners, on the furniture and on the floor. It's on Groce's plane tickets, too.