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Jordan Brand Classic: Stephanie Watts

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As part of our Jordan Classic coverage, Finish Line polled some of the finest up-and-coming players in America about what it means to them to play in the game that bears Michael Jordan’s name, among other topics. Today, the spotlight belongs to Katie Lou Samuelson and Stephanie Watts, who were proud to participate in the first Girls Game in Jordan Classic history.

Stephanie Watts (@swatts15)

A slick guard known for her court vision and deadeye jump shot, Watts hit two three-pointers at the very end of the Jordan Classic, including the game-winner. A standout performer for Weddington High School in North Carolina, Watts will head to nearby UNC next year.

A pretty good shooter went to UNC by the name of Michael Jordan. How does it feel to play in his game and hit such a big shot?

To be here for the first girls Jordan Brand Classic is such an honor and a blessing. Huge thanks to Maya Moore for inspiring the idea for the game, I’m just so honored to be here.

Do you have a favorite Air Jordan?

Definitely the XI’s. We got them this weekend! It’s insane how much gear they gave us and how nice it all was, so it was great, the whole experience.

Photo by Bryan Horowitz

Photo by Bryan Horowitz

Did you get to talk to Maya at all, and what wisdom did you take from her?

A lot. She talked to us for an hour, so we took away a lot from that. She was just telling us what to expect in college, all the way to what you need to be eating, what you need to be doing, even the little things like stretching that really stuck with me.

I’ve never been able to hit a clutch shot myself, I just freeze up. I know you’re just on autopilot, but does anything go through your head at that moment?

It just felt like any other three, like the thousands of threes I take at practice. So I didn’t hesitate, since shooting is what I do. My coach told me early in the game, you might be a little off right now, but you’re going to hit the big shot we need. We were laughing about that later!

Who did you enjoy competing against?

(Louisville-bound) Taja (Cole) is on my AAU team, so I love playing with her. She’s a terrific point guard, and it’s so much fun playing with a guard like that. My UNC teammate Destinee Walker is here too, and she’s a knockdown shooter, so it’s going to be so much fun playing with her.

What do you take from this experience going forward?

It was just a huge stepping stone. It was just an overall great experience meeting everyone, playing the game of basketball with such great players, it was just so great the entire week.

** Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue our coverage of the Jordan Brand Classic with a couple of insider perspectives, Knicks executive and former All-Star Allan Houston, plus ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi.