With time ticking down a mix of emotions might have rushed through your veins if you’re a fan of Žalgiris – excitement, uncertainty and of course impatience. Not a buzzer beater three pointer, not crucial free throws and not a decisive possession on defense to be worried about. But the seconds were still burning. A short message was released in Žalgiris website, saying that when the clocks show twelve, news about a new signing will be revealed. On the stroke of midnight the curtain went up and Travis Watson was officially announced as a Žalgiris player. A pretty interesting and dramatic idea, if you ask me. I really think this was a great public relations move to build up the excitement.
What’s going to happen next?
It might only be a coincidence, but both Travis Watson and Paulius Jankūnas wore number 14 on their chests last year. It’s known that Jankūnas has received offers raging from Spanish clubs to Poland, but he is awaited in Kaunas as well. According to the “Respublika” daily, who have close ties with Žalgiris, if the Lithuanian was to be resigned, Watson would play more as a center. If not – another big man from abroad would be inked to take the position under the basket, while the American who played in the World U18 Championship for the United States squad in 1999 would be moved to power forward. There is a possibility that Jankūnas will stay and a new center will be signed as well, this scenario would probably leave Watson on the bench but is highly unlikely. Paulius Motiejūnas, Žalgiris director hasn’t ruled out the possibility that one of the biggest young talents Donatas Motiejūnas could still join the club. The conclusion should be clear in about a week’s time.
More about Travis
Usually when a player is no good offensively fans, bloggers and the club itself start telling everyone how good the new signing is on defense or on this occasion at rebounding. But Watson’s example is a bit different – he’s a decent player on offense, but his rebounding is really outstanding, one of the best in Europe to be specific. A one year deal (with the possibility to extend it) gives Žalgiris some maneuverability if Watson doesn’t fulfill the expectations. But Bubba, as he was nicknamed in high school, had found a place for himself in every team that he’d played. 28 years of age is a peak of a basketball player’s career and Watson shouldn’t see his numbers fall for a year or two. One of the reasons, why the player chose Žalgiris was the chance to experience Euroleague basketball once again after spending last year in Hapoel Jarusalem. It’s reported that Watson had received offers from countries like Russia, Spain and Italy, but chose the team that looks to get back to winning ways and are trying to build a strong team which will have to rely on their big men and the scoring abilities of Marcus Brown to clinch victories. Will Travis Watson make it easier? I have no doubts, his addition is a definate win for Žalgiris.