By Aaron Allen
The Seattle Medium
Jadyn Watts’ DNA is filled with athleticism. The granddaughter of Seattle Supersonic legend Slick Watts, the 6’0” sophomore post player for West Seattle High School is starting to uncover and display her passion and skills for the game of basketball on her on terms.
While the Watts name is synonymous with basketball in the Pacific Northwest, The young Watts’ athletic DNA is a strong composite of both her mother, Emily Autrey, who was a former University of Washington All-Pac 10 standout in basketball and highly successful track and field athlete in high school and her father, Donald Watts, who was a former professional and University of Washington basketball star.
“My daughter comes from some real athletic genes,” says her father, Donald. “Her mother was a great athlete and a lot people understand and recognize the Watts name and legacy so my daughter is a really gifted athlete naturally.”
Despite her athletic prowess, Watts, in today’s sense, is a relative newcomer to the basketball, as the game eventually grew on her after some resistance. As a child Watts did not naturally gravitate to basketball until middle school. As she grew to understand the game, the history of the game, the history of her family and the game and the potential benefits the game can provide, Watts then became committed to becoming the best player she could be. And in hindsight, she often ponders on what could have been, if she took to basketball earlier in life.
“Around middle school I began to fall in love with basketball,” says Watts. “I do think about it a lot how I wish I had started earlier, then I would have had the opportunity to work on my game more.”
With a great smile, a maturity and natural optimism about her, you can sense her enthusiasm about her future as a student athlete. Watts, who transferred from Mt. Rainier High School to West Seattle High School this year, is still getting fully acquainted with her new surroundings, but she has adjusted to her new life balancing academics and athletics to where she is finally getting comfortable and able to put her full attention into perfecting her skill set.
“I love basketball but the adjustment hasn’t been easy,” says Watts. “I am kind of comparing this season to last season where I averaged more points so coming into my sophomore year, I had expectations to do better than last year and I haven’t had the result that I wanted.”
When Watts reflects on her game, she has no issue in addressing those aspects of her game where development is still needed as well as continuing to perfect her strengths.
“I would definitely like to work on ball handling as one part of my game I would like to strengthen,” says Watts.
“I don’t necessarily like playing the post, [but] I feel like that’s how a lot of coaches see me because of my height, my strength,” added Watts, who says she eventually wants to develop her skillset to handle the ball better so she can move to small forward.
Despite falling short of her own expectations handling the ball, Watts has put in a lot of hard work into developing her game, and she is most proud of the progress she has made with her jump shot.
“I have been told that my jump shot is nice, but honestly while I was in middle school I couldn’t really shoot, then it began to click when I got into the gym and worked on it,” says Watts.
West Seattle girls basketball is a young team. Watts believes their youth provides an upside for the future of her team. She believes in her team’s talent and her leadership and although she is only a sophomore, Watts is eager to show her ability to lead.
West Seattle Girls Basketball Coach Darnell Taylor believes that the best is yet to come as it relates to her development as a player.
“Her ceiling is very high,” says Talylor. “A very athletic player, obviously she has the pedigree, I truly expect a lot of growth from her in this coming off season.”
“This season, she’s still young and she hasn’t been playing competitively for very long. But, like I said her ceiling is through the roof,” added Taylor. “She could be one of those players that I think when it clicks and she realizes what she is capable of, she will naturally be able to take over games with her god given abilities.”
Watts considers herself moderately vocal when necessary, but admits she is prepared if her leadership is needed.
“I do show leadership in some ways but I could be more of a leader,” says Watts. “But from what I have learned from my family, my father, I think I have the ability to, in a lot of situations, say what I know from experience and help my team.”
“I am not too quiet but I do not talk a lot, especially on the court,” she continued. “Don’t get me wrong, I communicate with teammates but you won’t see me shouting.”
Like most young people Watts has a vision for her future. She is considering psychology as a possible future endeavor beyond sports. But Watts has choices. Not only is she gifted in hoops but she possesses a promising track and field career ahead of her in the 100 and 200 meters, respectively.
Coach Taylor believes with hard work during in the off season that Watts could be one of the most dominate players in the league.
“She is a good kid, love having her on the team and truly look forward to having her for the next two years, but I truly expect her to be one of the most dominate players in the league,” says Taylor.
Watts remains steadfast and optimistic as she continues to grow in her craft but she is well aware of the work that must be put in in both her academics and athletics.
Only time will tell how dominant of a player she will be, but with all the physical tools that she possesses and a solid work ethic Jadyn Watts has the ability to be as great as she wants to be both on and off the court.
“She has it in her blood,” says her grandfather and former Seattle Supersonic and NBA player Slick Watts. “But she is going to have work hard though as all kids have to do, especially on those books that is the start. She is a good student, but there is going to be a lot of gym work a head, working on her fundamentals, so it’s going to be a really busy summer.”