The No. 1 player is officially a Trojan, coming to USC from Sierra Canyon High.
The USC women’s basketball program has the stage set for some serious star power with the addition of the nation’s top high school player, guard JuJu Watkins, who signed a national letter of intent to join the Women of Troy in 2023, head coach Lindsay Gottlieb has announced. Heralded as the best in the USA, Watkins comes to USC from Sierra Canyon High School, where she was named the 2022 MaxPreps National Player of the Year as a junior.
“JuJu is the best and most decorated player of her class both in the country and internationally. I could talk for days about her skill set: her shot-making ability, creativity to the rim, dominance on the boards, defensive tenacity and her elite court vision,” Gottlieb said of Watkins. “But what I am most excited about is that JuJu the human being is joining the USC family. This is a young woman with transcendent talent, but she is also uniquely motivated. She is about things bigger than herself: her family, her team, her community, her city. JuJu had the courage to stay home and is driven to bring USC women’s basketball back to prominence. What a monumental day for all of us in the Trojan Family.”
A native of Watts, Calif., Watkins is sticking to her Los Angeles roots in becoming a Trojan. In addition to her numerous California state accolades, she also brings in significant international experience as a member of the United States U-17 and U-16 national teams. She was named the MVP of the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup in helping Team USA to a gold medal at that event. And in 2021, she was the MVP of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, where the U.S. squad also won gold.
The 6-1 guard has played club ball for Sports Academy Swish GBL. And in her junior season with Sierra Canyon, Watkins piled up state honors as the Gatorade California Girls Basketball Player of the Year, CIF Mc. Basketball State Player of the Year, Los Angeles Times Player of the Year and Los Angeles Daily News Player of the Year in 2022.
Watkins is joined by fellow signee Malia Samuels as USC’s two newest Trojans, both set to start their freshman season in 2023-24.