Kharyem Watson entered Elev8 as an unsung and underappreciated gamer out of Tracy, Calif.
Now, the hyper-athletic 6-foot-3 guard has the privileged opportunity to make up for some lost time.
Remember, he has only a six-month period to do so.
Thus far, the time has worked in Watson's favor.
Possessing a 40-inch vertical, Watson is fueled by an innate ability to blow by defenders and play above the rim consistently.
This, coupled with his knack for operating offense and getting his teammates involved, has rendered him a catalyst for Elev8-Black this season.
Pouring in 20 points against recruit-rich Monteverde Academy (FL), a performance underscored by dazzling displays of athleticism and thunderous dunks, was an eye-opener. It was quite indicative of just how under the radar he's been soaring.
Not for long.
"Coach George (Johnson) gives me advice on my shooting and how to be a better shooter and coach Shane (Maynard) he advises me to stay under control and really teaches me to be a leader. It's helped a great deal. I'm just looking to progress and get better every day I can."
Workmanlike and unassuming by nature, Watson has never been too enamored with his stat line. His focus, he said, is on winning and improving his shot, to the point where his mid-range game is as consistent as his aggressive slashing game and hard-to-guard forays to the rim.
Watson On Team Identity
Right now, we play small ball and space the court out a lot. We like to speed the game up, get out in transition and get a lot of shots up. Defensively, we play 2-3 but we put pressure on the ball throughout.
On His Role
I can handle and run the ball up the court, it's really whatever the coaches ask of me. Anything needed to get the win, I'll do. I like to attack the basket and create plays for other people, that's really a part of my game that I pride myself on whenever I take the floor.
On NCAA Interest
Before this year, I was talking to Cal State-East Bay and Cal State-Dominguez. My grades have improved a lot this semester. That, and given how I play, I believe I can play at a low or mid-major D-I program. Of course, that means I have to keep working at this pace.
On His Identity At The Next Level
In college, I'll have to play the point. This is definitely my preference, although I really have no problem playing the two as well. I love to play off the ball and really keep attacking the basket.
On Preparation And Getting Better
I've played against a lot of top-level players like Noah Blackwell, Gabe Vincent, Ivan Rabb, Paris Austin, and then I also played for Canada Elite. So, I've had my fair share of battles. Credit to my AAU coach Phil Williams, he pushed me a lot and helped me get better. My uncle Chuck Lockhart, he helped keep my head straight. Here at Elev8, my coaches just want me to be a leader and adjust my game in the best ways possible.