Watson a constant as Husker hoops gears up for 2018-19 season
Through it all, there’s been Glynn.
The Nebraska men’s basketball program has seen plenty since Aug. 31, 2014. Players coming, players leaving, big wins, weird losses, one of the worst seasons in program history followed by one of the best, followed by that season ending in disappointment.
Through all of it, Glynn Watson has been the man at the point. He announced his verbal commitment to Tim Miles and Nebraska on that August day four years ago, and four years later, he and Miles stand as two of the few constants still in Lincoln since then.
“I have no doubt,” Miles said in 2015, shortly after Watson arrived on campus, “there’s something special inside of that kid.”
Now Watson is a senior, just completing his final media day. It was something he maybe dreaded in the past. For sure, it’s no player’s favorite part of getting ready for the season. But Watson looks and sounds now like a man who has grown fully comfortable with who he is.
“I just think I matured a lot from when I was a freshman. Just got stronger, bigger, things like that,” Watson said. “That’s one of the main things with me, just maturing, being more of a leader. This year and last year I was more vocal. Being more vocal, more confident with myself and with the team.”
In 2015, Watson arrived in Lincoln with classmates Ed Morrow, Jack McVeigh and Michael Jacobson. The quartet was supposed to be the core of a Nebraska basketball renaissance. In the Journal Star archives, there is a photo of the four standing together and smiling.
That picture looks a lot different today.
Morrow left the program shortly after the end of Nebraska’s turbulent 2016-17 season, when the Huskers went 12-19. Jacobson followed a couple of weeks later. McVeigh left after last season and is playing pro ball in Australia.
Morrow and Jacobson were Watson’s roommates. Rumors began to swirl that he was the next to go.
But leaving was never an option.
Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. Nebraska still has a group of seniors that represent the core of NU’s most talented roster in years. Reaching the NCAA Tournament — and winning once there — is the expectation.
The names are different, of course. James Palmer and Isaac Copeland are the stars. Tanner Borchardt provides a solid presence on the bench.
And there is the reliability of Watson to bring it all together.
“With these guys, I don’t think I really have to tell them too much. They know what they need to do. Even with the younger guys,” Watson said. “Coach Miles expects me to be a leader on the team. I’m the point guard, so I’m the person on the floor who has the ball the most.
“But I’ve got a lot of guys that are pretty good vocal leaders, and I’ve been getting better at being vocal. But I’m a lead-by-example type of guy.”
Watson has long been a player who expects the best from himself, which led to a conversation with Miles after the season about what he could improve. He took the blame, he said, for not being better offensively and perhaps giving the Huskers a more potent attack.
“I really talked to him myself, telling him, what can I improve on, my offense being consistent, things like that. Because I felt like last year I wasn’t consistent on the offensive end. I think that could have boosted us up another notch. So I blame that on myself. But that was on me,” Watson said. “But other than, Coach Miles told me, do what you do. Go out there and play free; have fun.”
Watson said he hasn’t yet taken the time to look back and reflect his college career.
There’s still too much to look forward to.