UCLA wing Peyton Watson departs after one season, declares for 2022 NBA Draft
It is officially one and done for UCLA’s Peyton Watson.
The freshman forward and former 5-star prospect announced on Tuesday that he intends to enter the 2022 NBA Draft and hire an agent. A statement from UCLA, per SI’s Benjamin Royer, confirmed that Watson will forego his remaining college eligibility and won’t return.
“Growing up as a kid in Long Beach, it’s always been my dream to play close to home at UCLA,” Watson wrote in a message shared on social media. “Although we didn’t reach all of our goals as a team this season, my experience at UCLA made me a better person and a better player.”
Forever a Bruin💙 pic.twitter.com/GrUCTO7ou5
— pwat✞ (@peytonwatson_) April 12, 2022
In his lone season with the Bruins, Watson averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 boards a game while seeing 12.7 minutes a night in 32 appearances. While the offense was up-and-down—32% from the field, 23% from 3—Watson was a disruptive force on the defensive end of the floor. With length and shot-blocking instincts, the 6-foot-8 Watson is a unique option in the NBA Draft. Watson was the 12th overall player in the 2021 recruiting class, per the 247Sports Composite.
He doesn’t appear in any major first-round mock drafts, but the consensus seemed to be that Watson would return for another year and hopefully an expanded role at UCLA.