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Watts sounds like an interesting individual and a quality kid......

 

Con Ed award winner: Peekskill's Ralph Watts

 

By Terrence Watson • The Journal News • March 28, 2009

 

Ask most coaches to read their scouting reports on Peekskill guard Ralph Watts and they would probably find something similar to this: great slasher, above average ball handler and terrific shooter. ... Don't let him drive or get comfortable pulling up.

 

While this sounds simple enough, perhaps the reason Peekskill is 49-3 with him in the lineup the past two years has a lot to do with what most coaches can't stop.

 

 

"My IQ," Watts, the Con Edison Athlete of the Week, responded when asked about his most dangerous on-court quality. "I really know when to do things. I think my court awareness is my most underrated attribute."

 

Watts' game is smooth and his ability to drive the lane seems almost as effortless to him as it is fun for fans to watch. However, as Red Devils coach Lou Panzanaro will tell you, it's not his dexterity to get to the hoop that's so impressive, it's his timing.

 

Panzanaro vividly remembers how Watts almost single-handedly beat Peeksill for the title two years ago while he was still at Lakeland.

 

"In the sectional final game, we were ahead for most of the second half," said Panzanaro. "All of a sudden, he started driving right through our defense to the basket and helped them climb back in the game."

 

Although a Peekskill native, Watts moved to Lakeland in middle school. Like most pint-sized ballers from the area, Watts dreamed of following in the footsteps of those he watched wear the Red Devils uniform growing up.

 

"I always went to the games with my family and watched Elton Brand, Hilton Armstrong and other players that I looked up to," Watts said.

 

After a two-year stint as a Hornet, Watts returned to Peekskill his junior year. He adjusted quickly to playing with a team that was led by Mookie Jones, Elliot Watson and Daquan Brickhouse.

 

Most transfer players who were so used to all the attention wouldn't know where to fit in and might have caused tension. For Watts, it felt more like the homecoming he'd been waiting for.

 

"It felt great," Watts said about his return. "Kinda like a new start."

 

The feeling of his arrival was definitely great all around, as he revealed that some wished he'd never left.

 

"Every time I talked to Mookie, he was telling me to come back, that we could win this and that," says Watts. "Once I finally made the jump, it was like a warm welcome."

 

Perhaps the warmest moment of all came this season on January 22 at home against rival Poughkeepsie. On that night, Watts helped Panzanaro win his 500th game while he notched his own milestone with his 1,000th career point.

 

"It was a big game against our rival and me and Coach just happened to have a great accomplishment on the same day," Watts said.

 

Watts enjoyed helping his coach achieve greatness, just like he treasures helping his teammates and other Peekskill students in the Elton Brand Academy. It's here that Watts, who has an 85 GPA, assists with projects and other assignments.

 

"I love helping out people who need it and what better way to show leadership than by making sure my teammates' grades stay up," Watts said.

 

The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete's athletic director or coach.

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Seems like what we have been saying all along. Quality individual first, good basketball player second. I love it!! I still can't get over the fact that he went out of his way to say hi to Dane Pound and myself after their semi final win in Glens Falls. This kid is already going to be one of my favorite Danes for next season and he hasn't even rocked the uni yet :)

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