Former University of Detroit Mercy basketball coach Perry Watson looks back at how he helped turn the program around in the '90s, showing local kids they could "stay home, achieve an education and make it in the NBA."
Three of the students he coached over his 15 seasons with U of D wound up playing professionally, the 69-year-old says in a new interview with 15-year-old Owen White, a Southfield student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The interview is part of White's recently launched the 1108 Sports Network.
Watson, a native Detroiter, played college ball at Eastern Michigan University and went on to coach Detroit Southwestern High School, where he helped cultivate greats like future NBA player Jalen Rose. He then took an assistant coaching job at the University of Michigan during the Fab Five era before returning to Detroit.
Watson discusses his heroes (not athletes, but thinkers like Malcolm X), his approach to mentorship and whether college athletes should be compensated.