Top California prospect Peyton Watson commits to UCLA – ESPN

Top-25 prospect Peyton Watson committed to UCLA on Monday, giving the Bruins the top-ranked player from the state of California for the first time since 2018.

Watson chose UCLA over a long list of schools that included Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Michigan.

“I’m the No. 1 player in California, and I feel like UCLA is the original blue blood,” Watson told ESPN. “It’s hard to pass up an amazing school where my parents can see me play and have the support of my community behind me.”

Watson, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, is ranked No. 25 in the ESPN 100 for 2021. He averaged 23.5 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists last season.

Watson took official visits to Gonzaga, Washington and Arizona and went to UCLA multiple times unofficially for games.

“I’m a huge family guy,” Watson said. “It means a lot to me that my family will be able to come to the games.”

Watson is Mick Cronin’s second ESPN 100 commitment in the 2021 class, joining four-star shooting guard Will McClendon. Cronin’s first full recruiting class in Westwood included just one player, four-star Jaylen Clark, following five-star point guard Daishen Nix’s decision to bypass college for the G League.

Cronin also landed Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang, a former top-30 recruit who received a waiver to play immediately next season for the Bruins.

When Watson arrives on campus, he’ll join a team that will remain mostly intact from the 2020-21 season, with only one senior expected on that team.

“I think I can make a huge impact immediately with my versatility and skill set,” he said. “My goal is to lead UCLA to a national championship.”

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