Severna Park senior forward Grahm Watson had a good feeling about this season. The Falcons have more than a handful of seniors — eight in all — and went 8-16 the season before, but there was a strong sense that this one could be special.
The Falcons were in most every game last year, and had a number of three-year varsity players coming back.
So far, so good. The Falcons closed out the 2013 portion of the schedule with a 7-0 mark and fully expect the winning ways to continue.
Watson, a team captain who averages 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds, embodies the Falcon's success and team-first approach.
An 'A' student, Watson also is a leader in Young Life, a Christian program which reaches out to less-fortunate children. Through Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, he's also a member of WoodsWork, a summer program that builds houses for people in need.
What has been the key to the successful start?
I'd say the biggest thing is that nobody is worried about who is getting the credit. We're playing as a team. Coach [Paul Pellicani] always says "Fear no one, respect everyone." So, it doesn't matter who we are playing — every game, we're coming in like we're fighting to keep our season alive.
How does the camaraderie the team has help in the overall success?
Every guy on the depth chart — from No. 1 down to No. 14 — [has] really put in a lot of time. A good amount of the guys have played nine months year-round, so our chemistry is very good. Everybody knows each others' strength and so we're able to set each other up to do some good things.
What is your role on the team?
It's really all about reading what's given to us. I definitely like to slash — I'm a cutting player. And as a team, we always emphasize going backdoor if they're overplaying us, make an extra pass to set up a teammate, ball reversal. Just good movement within the offense and it usually turns into some easy buckets.
Coach Pellicani preaches consistent team defense, how important is that?
I think most of us view defense as our first offense, almost. You're limiting the other team's possession and their ability to score, and a lot of times that's turning into easy transition buckets. We have a lot of players who run the floor well and a couple of great ball handlers who see the floor very well.
With so many three-year varsity players, how rewarding has it been to get off to such a good start together?
It's very exciting. We're happy for the start. I would say all of us didn't expect anything less. Right now, we have some bigger, long-term goals, so we're trying to keep everything in perspective right now. We're trying to get better each day and make sure we don't peak too early.
How has the leadership been shared with so many experienced seniors?
Another interesting thing about this team is we defintely have a good amount of leaders — some vocal, some non-vocal. So it's definitely been important. Coach emphasizes — at some point in every game — you're going to face some kind of adversity. So it's important to be able to keep your composure, stay as a unit and not go outside the boundaries of what you can do. Just knowing yourself and your teammates well is key to our success.
What did you enjoy most about 2013?
Outside of basketball at the school, I did a lot of traveling up and down the East Coast, playing with the majority of the guys. We really had a lot of fun and [were] able to build more chemistry. Really, just spending time with most of my teammates was pretty fun. We're close-knit off the court also, so we're usually doing just about everything together.
What are your thoughts on 2014?
I'm excited. I'm starting to find out about most of my college choices, so I'm defintely looking forward to seeing where I end up and seeing where my buddies end up, too.
How rewarding is it helping others with your community and church work?
Young Life, just bringing some kids in who may not be out there as much in social activities and giving them a place where they can hang out and have fun and feel they are at an equal standing with everyone else, just having a good time, [is great].
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