NEW BRITAIN - It wasnâ€™t long ago that the New Britain boys basketball team had shooting guard Darius Watson for four seasons at the varsity level.
Now, heâ€™s in a different spotlight at the high school but a similar one at the Osgood Shootout.
â€śIâ€™ve known Darius since he was in eighth grade,â€ť said Osgood Tournament founder and director Darwin Shaw Saturday. â€śHe came into the high school and started since he was a freshman. So, Darius is not only a great kid but Darius went on and got his degree and is doing great stuff. Iâ€™m proud of Darius because heâ€™s one of the guys that came through the system. He was watching the Osgood and now heâ€™s one of the main names in the Osgood.â€ť
Watson was a star for the Hurricanes program and after he graduated in 2010, went on to play collegiate basketball at Division III Albertus Magnus. There he became the teamâ€™s third all-time leading scorer and amassed over 2,000 career points, averaging 21.3 points per game in his three years at college.
Scoring is what he does best and this weekend Watson is doing so playing for 2 Official.
Nowadays, Watson still plays in different tournaments both in and outside of Connecticut, but playing in front of the home fans means a little extra to him.
â€śI played on this court for four years so I want to be able to go out here, make a statement and maybe win,â€ť Watson said. â€śItâ€™s my home. Iâ€™ve got a lot of family here, a lot of fans from high school that come to watch me. For other tournaments, we didnâ€™t really have many fans coming because itâ€™s a long ride.â€ť
Watson grew up playing basketball with those in his family including his older brother Albie, who helped mold him into the player he became.
â€śThere werenâ€™t many competitive games between us because [Darius] always beat me,â€ť Watson said.
While the basketball side to the tournament is all about winning the whole thing, itâ€™s about much more than that to Watson and Shaw.
â€śThis tournament is especially good for the community,â€ť Watson said. â€śOn this day [Shaw] gets everyone to come out and see one another. That doesnâ€™t happen that often so this day is a special day for him and everybody else.â€ť
Watson was at the Osgood Shootout throughout the day and got a chance to watch the high school division, which featured some kids he trains. Passing down his love for the game to the younger generation is something Watson enjoys doing.
â€śItâ€™s all about the kids,â€ť Watson said. â€śI used to be those kids and knowing that I can help means something.â€ť
While Watson competes in the Open Division, the next great New Britain player may be in the same gym, albeit at the lower gym level where the high school division was taking place.
The talent level at the Osgood Shootout is something that keeps Watson coming back every year.
â€śThis is probably one of the best tournaments all summer,â€ť Watson said. â€śEverybody comes to play, itâ€™s one and done. You got to play hard or you wonâ€™t be able to play that next round.â€ť