JuJu Watkins (Courtesy photo)

USC freshman sensation Juju Watkins was first featured as Student Athlete of the  Week on February 28, 2019. At that time, she was an eighth grader whose proficient gameplay on-court garnered the attention of pro athletes and fans. It was just an early part of her journey toward her record-breaking freshman season with the USC Women of Troy basketball team.

Watkins recently won the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award after helping the Women of Troy reach the Elite Eight. USC ultimately had a 29-6 overall record and 13-5 Pac-12 record.

“She’s a competitor, I can trust her with my life,” said USC junior center Rayah Marshall. “When it come down to winning, she going to do what she has to do.”

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Watkins now holds the program scoring average record with 27.1 points per game, which was previously held by Cheryl Miller. Her 920 total points not only broke Miller’s single-season scoring record (814) but made her the highest-scoring freshman in national history.

“Coach has so much trust in me.  I’m grateful for that,” Watkins said. “My teammates have so much trust in me. I’m just grateful to be in that mention and to be part of the Trojan legacy.”

While competing at a high level, Watkins earned a spot on the Dean’s List for having a 3.5 GPA or higher during her first collegiate fall semester.

After their 87-55 win against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, USC women’s basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb noted how Watkins “makes others around her better.”

Watkins scored 27.1 points per game, making her the second-leading scorer in the nation as a freshman (Jevone Moore/L.A. Sentinel)

“When you guys said she broke the single-season scoring record, that’s crazy for any freshman,” Gottlieb said.  “At USC where the woman she surpasses is literally the best basketball player of all time.”

Her 78 total steals put Watkins in second for most steals for a freshman. Her 306 field goals broke Paula McGee’s freshman record.

“[Watkins is] a winner and we see the work she puts in, we don’t lack confidence,” said USC grad student guard McKenzie Forbes. “She’s a playmaker. She gets off the ball when they come to her, getting our bigs a lot of easy dump-downs.”

In 14 different contests, Watkins scored at least 30 points which gives her the USC record for most 30-point games out of both the women’s and men’s basketball programs. A highlight was when Watkins scored 51 points in an away game against Stanford. This was the highest score a Division I basketball player made this season.

Watkins earned several awards including USBWA Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and ESPN Freshman of the Year.