They say anything’s possible… you have to dream like you never seen obstacles - Jermaine Cole
The future is bright at Mainland high and a big reason that many people see light at the end of the tunnel is Kylee Watson. From her first game on the court, Watson has had a massive impact on the culture and success of the program at Mainland High. Much was expected from Watson from the door and like the mailman, she delivered.
Upon watching her play, it’s easy to see why scouts are locked in. Even though she is a sophomore, Watson is 6’2 and has a wide array of power moves and counters down low. She’s a force on the glass and a terror on the defensive side of the floor. After a 20 plus win season as a freshman, Watson has Mainland undefeated and on their way to a county championship game. The sky's the limit for Watson.
Recently we sat down with Kylee to discuss playing for Team USA, her first summer with the Philly Belles, what makes Mainland the team to beat and more. -Christian Mordi @thedribbledrop
TheDribbleDrop: This spring you played AAU basketball for the Philly Belles. How was that experience?
Kylee Watson: This was my first year playing for them. I was kind of nervous and unsure going into it. They are a very well respected program. When I started all the girls were welcoming though. They play a different level of basketball as the Belles are on the EYBL circuit. It’s was a very exciting and fun experience.
TheDribbleDrop: You come from a sports laden family. Your dad played in the NFL. Your mom played at Delaware. How instrumental has their experiences been in your growth thus far?
Kylee Watson: They have played a huge part in my development. They went through everything I went through, especially the recruiting part. They know what it takes to compete at a high level at a strong program. They stress the importance of classwork and make sure my grades are right.
TheDribbleDrop: Your mom is a coach at Mainland. What’s the best piece of advice she has given you as a player?
Kylee Watson: She always focuses on the way I react to situations on the floor. She always focuses on playing through things, especially missed shots. You’re going to miss shots so just keep playing.
TheDribbleDrop: You have a ton of talent and could’ve played at any high school you wanted. Why did you decide to stay home and play for Mainland.
Kylee Watson: Both my parents went to Mainland. I’m playing with the girls I grew up with also. It was second nature. I really wasn’t thinking about going anywhere else. There were rumors that I would up north or Pennsylvania, but those were silly. For high school I just want to have fun and enjoy the experience.
TheDribbleDrop: This summer you played on Team USA. Your team won a gold medal as well.Tell me about that experience.
Kylee Watson: That was a crazy experience. It was an amazing opportunity. I met a lot of great people, like Diamond Miller. It was a stressful process but in the end I came back and learned so much from the experience. Playing in those games in Argentina was amazing. I would definitely do it again.
TheDribbleDrop: How would you describe Mainland basketball?
Kylee Watson: Family. Last year we got closer through the ups and downs and losing some very close games. I think this year we have so much chemistry together. We all have each other's back no matter what. I think that is a reason we have been able to pull out those same games this year. We all play for each other and care about each other.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were to highlight one facet of your team that makes you guys stand out, what would it be and why?
Kylee Watson: I would say we have a very active defense. We use that to create deflections and score in transition. Even in games when we can’t find our shot we have found a way to create easy shots due to our defensive intensity.
TheDribbleDrop: ESPN has you ranked at the #2 overall player in the class of 2020. How do you feel about that honor and what do you think it is that separates you from the pack?
Kylee Watson: It’s an honor to be nationally recognized with all my friends. I’m not too focused on that right now as I’m just focused on improving my game. I’m blessed to have a great support system around me, which has helped me get this far. That advice I have gotten as I grow has helped me stand out.
TheDribbleDrop: Tell me one facet of your game your worked hard to improve on this off-season that you wanted to take to another level.
Kylee Watson: Last year I wasn’t too confident in shooting a mid range jumper. I worked on that a lot this summer though. Just getting more comfortable with that and finding a smoother release point. I’m more confident shooting it now and I think that makes me a more versatile threat.
TheDribbleDrop: What’s your personal and team goal for your sophomore year.
Kylee Watson: To see my teammates and myself grow on and off the floor. I want to make this season memorable for us all. We are in the “win or go home” point of the year so we just want to keep our undefeated streak going.
I just want us to play our best. Last year we lost some close games, like the one to Ocean City. We want to get deeper in the playoffs than we did last year.