Christian Watford signs to play in Israel…really this time


Christian Watford had a chance to roll the dice and take an all-or-not-much-more-than nothing chance at his dream.
The former Indiana forward had multiple training camp invites from NBA teams according to his agent Joel Bell. That meant that if nothing else, he’d be in the building with coaches and front-office men and be measured directly in practice against the men whose roster spots he would be trying to take as an undrafted free agent. His foot would at least be in the proverbial door.

But so little is guaranteed to such players, and Watford realized he would have more stability if he postponed the NBA dream and first established himself elsewhere. So on Wednesday, Watford signed with Hapoel Eilat, a team in the top basketball division in Israel, an overseas basketball hotbed.

Turning down an NBA shot wasn’t easy, after Watford played in NBA summer leagues with both the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks. However, Watford decided the risks of falling short were too great.

“Just the simple fact you can go to camp and you get cut,” Watford said. “Camp doesn’t start until October. You get cut in October, the season has already started overseas. When camp is over, a lot of people try to go over and it’s tough to get a spot. And the money issue, you’re not going to get as much money as you would have if you had already signed. I know things are for sure at this point. You don’t want to put yourself in a position to make a decision you don’t want to make.”

Hapoel Eilat finished third in the regular season of Israel’s Winner League last season with a 17-10 record, then reached the semifinals of the playoffs. That group was led by former Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson and former Indiana and Detroit center Eli Holman. Hopson will play in Turkey this year, and Holman is not respected to return. Eilat is coached by Oded Kattash, a 38-year-old former point guard for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the most famous Israeli basketball team.

Bell said Watford perfectly fit Hopel Eilat’s needs. The squad was looking for a forward who could stretch the floor, and Watford has certainly proven capable of doing that. The 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 12.3 points per game last season, making a Big Ten best 48.4 percent of his 3-pointers while also averaging 6.3 rebounds per game and earning All-Big Ten third team honors. He finished his career ranked ninth all time at Indiana with 1,730 points and established his place in IU lore with the 3-point shot that knocked off then No. 1 Kentucky in 2011.

“He fits perfectly,” Bell said. “They really wanted someone like him. He was a player that, when they started talking to them, was a perfect fit. He’ll play some (power forward) for them, some small forward for them, and they’ll work on his skills.”
Bell wouldn’t say what NBA teams offered camp invites or what other overseas teams offered contracts. Watford said there were offers from Germany, Hungary, Russia and Turkey, but wouldn’t name specifics. Even though he won’t be playing in the NBA as he had hoped, Watford said he’s still excited to get started.

“It’s a dream come true to be in professional basketball,” he said.

And Bell said he still believes Watford will reach his ultimate dream and that this will help him do it. He can establish himself in Europe, earn much more money than he would have in the NBA Development League or some other American minor league.

“He’s going to be in the NBA some day,” Bell said. “I don’t have any doubts about that. Thirty or 35 percent of the guys in the NBA right now spent time outside of the NBA at some time in their careers. That’s a huge percentage, high percentage, and I believe he’ll be one of those guys.”

Share the Scoop!

3 comments:

  • Big E #1


    Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 4:12 PM EST

    Good for CWat. No suprise he’s getting paid- a big man that can shoot, play a little defense and rebound. Not a great athlete but pretty skilled. Hope he has a long career.

  • WaltD #2


    Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 8:14 AM EST

    Congrats on signing with Eilat, Christian! Sounds like you made a wise choice. Work hard and you’ll be in the NBA.

  • MileHigh Chris #3


    Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 5:53 PM EST

    The best part of this article is when I found the typo within this sentence…..
    and Holman is not respected to return.

    LOL!!
    Kind of fitting isn’t it!

Scoop Poll:

How many games will IU basketball win in 2014-15

  • 16-19 (45%, 145 Votes)
  • 20-23 (36%, 117 Votes)
  • 15 or less (12%, 38 Votes)
  • 24 or more (7%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 324

Loading ... Loading ...

IU vs Eastern Washington men\'s basketball

Men's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_blackmon1.jpg]3150James Blackmon, Jr.
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard James Blackmon Jr. (1)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_zeisloft1.jpg]2340Nick Zeisloft
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nick Zeisloft (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hoetzel1.jpg]1960Max Hoetzel
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Max Hoetzel (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_johnson1.jpg]1740Robert Johnson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Robert Johnson (4)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_williams1.jpg]1590Troy Williams
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Troy Williams (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_burton1.jpg]1530Ryan Burton
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Ryan Burton (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_yogi1.jpg]1450Yogi Ferrell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_perea1.jpg]1460Hanner Mosquera-Perea
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_robinson1.jpg]1210Stanford Robinson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Stanford Robinson (22)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_ritchie1.jpg]1250Nate Ritchie
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Nate Ritchie (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_holt1.jpg]1420Emmitt Holt
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Emmitt Holt (25)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hartman1.jpg]1410Collin Hartman
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Collin Hartman (30)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_priller1.jpg]1700Tim Priller
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Tim Priller (35)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_april1.jpg]1770Jeremiah April
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jeremiah April (44)

Women's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_walter1.jpg]1440Jess Walter
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Jess Walter (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_buss1.jpg]3490Tyra Buss
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Tyra Buss (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_brooks1.jpg]1810Larryn Brooks
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Larryn Brooks (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_agler1.jpg]1680Taylor Agler
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Taylor Agler (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_bell2.jpg]1310Nicole Bell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nicole Bell (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_stratman1.jpg]1290Liz Stratman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hulls1.jpg]1280Kaila Hulls
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard/forward Kaila Hulls (15)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mcbride1.jpg]1190Karlee McBride
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Karlee McBride (21)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_gassion1.jpg]1190Alexis Gassion
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Alexis Gassion (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_muensterman1.jpg]990Maura Meunsterman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Maura Muensterman (31)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mize1.jpg]1020Andrea Mize
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Andrea Mize (32)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_cahill1.jpg]1100Amanda Cahill
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Amanda Cahill (33)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_jakubicek1.jpg]1170Claire Jakubicek
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Claire Jakubicek (34)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_leikem1.jpg]1020Lyndsay Leikem
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Lyndsay Leikem (40)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_anderson1.jpg]1010Jenn Anderson
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jenn Anderson (43)
  • Nancy:

    There is a reason we play these no name teams. To get the players read [...]

  • >0=Harvard:

    West Coast Hoosier, ya' think? Glad somebody broke it down to a missin [...]

  • TJ in Texas:

    First of all, I would like to defend Stan Robinson. The staff changed [...]

  • kenny george:

    He's living on another world, in a time zone that runs parallel to our [...]

  • Pfunk:

    Harvard, shut up. You have to be one of the most arrogant people in th [...]

  • >0=Harvard:

    You must be that pimple filled with knowledge. [...]

  • Geoff:

    I know Harvard is just trolling here, but I guarantee you that Holt is [...]


Find Notre Dame football coverage on NDInsider.com. © Hoosier Times Inc., all rights reserved.