When his senior year started Buffalo forward Mitchell Watt was not even expected to be the best player on his teams roster.
What UB fans did not know what that Watt's inconsistent play was due to Guillain-Barre, a condition puts many people into a wheel chair. In secret Watt battled the condition throughout his sophomore year, just completing practice was an arduous task. During his junior season he would run out of gas after a few minutes on the floor.
This past season Mitchell Watt was finally able to play ball pain free and at full strength. The Mitchell Watt UB fans saw in 2012 got stronger as games went on and became a beast as UB got deeper into their schedule.
Even after an amazing season which included being named as the Mid American conference player of the year Watt still was expected to, at best, land a free agent deal.
The task of climbing from relative obscurity to an NBA draft prospect may not have been possible if not for the post season All-Star games and invitationals. Mitchell had an opportunity to play against some of the best seniors in the nation. Against the best of the best, Watt more than held his own
School: Buffalo (Buffalo, N.Y. | Mid American Confernece Conference)
Hometown: Goodyear, AZ.
Weight: 225 lbs
Accolades: MAC Player of the Year (2011-12); 1st Team All-MAC
Team Record: 79-49
Buffalo's Mitchell Watt has ridden from relative obscurity to one of the more talked about small school forwards in the draft. Tearing through his conference, leading his team, and then dominating in the post season All-Star games makes Watt an interesting target for teams looking for a heady guard with a big upside.
Propelled by a senior season in which he averaged 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds Watt completed his time at Buffalo with more than a thousand career points and he earned MAC Player of the Year honors. In April, after the Bulls lost in the second round of the CIT tournament, Watt went on to impress NBA scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament .
The first things that jump out at you when talking about Mitchell Watt are his shooting percentage and his blocks.
Watt's not a great 3-point shooter but from mid-range and in he is deadly. He hit a stunning 58 percent on two-point shots. In addition to putting down a lot of dunks he also has a very smooth stroke when shooting from middle distance.
What does not hop off the page are the other ways Watt uses his touch. He made a habit of softening up defenses. Just when opponents would start to worry a bit too much about him Watt would dish out to someone else. His 2.3 assist per game is not earth shattering but as with all things Watt, those assist came at just about the right time.
On defense Mitchell has been dubbed "sWatt" by the Buffalo faithful. His blocks per game numbers put him just outside of the top 30 in the nation. This, more than offense, is where Watt shows his intelligence and leadership. Watt is an excellent communicator, a very verbal player, when the opposition holds the ball.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Intelligent and very athletic player, Watt is also very unselfish. He consistently shoots nearly 60 percent from inside the arc but he's smart enough to play support for someone with a hot hand. Scouts have pointed out that Watt has a tool set built to play the pick-and-roll game in the NBA. He is a very good finisher both hitting jumpers and diving to the basket.
Watt tends to find himself in foul trouble more often than a key player should. His distance shooting, even at the NCAA 3, is not nearly as impressive as his close range game and that could limit his usage in certain offenses.
Watt also needs to fill out a bit more to be a solid inside man at the next level. He lost the better part of two years while recovering so there is no reason to think that he can't put on some more weight while maintaining his athleticism.
Current Prospect Rankings
Chad Ford (ESPN): No. 78 (No. 21 at position)
Watt has shown up on radars at Golden State and with the Knicks. NBADraft.net has also had Watt being picked up by the Lakers in the late second round but currently most mocks are leaving him just outside the draft pool. Watt is going to end up on whichever team can put aside his first two years, in which an auto-immune disease kept his playing time lite, and can focus on his junior and senior seasons where he was a dominant force in the MAC.
Watt could become immediately useful as a utility role player while he bulks up and develops for a more important role.