Deshaun Watson Had Dreams of Becoming a Duke Basketball Star

Getty Images Deshaun Watson warming up.

Football wasn’t the main sport in Deshaun Watson’s life while growing up. Like many other athletes, Watson had more than one interest when it came to sports. While he did enjoy football, basketball seemed to trump it at times. Before Watson was a superstar quarterback at Clemson, he had dreams of becoming a college basketball star instead. Obviously, he never went that route, but he still discusses it until this day.

There are only so many programs in college basketball that young kids aspire to attend. Typically, you hear some big named schools like North Carolina, Kentucky, Villanova, and Duke. While there are plenty of other great schools out there, those programs are the usual suspects when it comes to dreaming of making it big time when you’re little. For Texans star Deshaun Watson, he wanted to play basketball at Duke.

When he was a kid on the local courts, Watson would pretend he was at Duke playing for Coach K. And funny enough, he used to act as if he was former Duke star, J.J. Redick. Usually, kids say they want to be like Michael Jordan or LeBron James. But not Deshaun Watson. He wanted to be like Redick, simply because he was a shooter. Just like Watson.

Watson Wanted to Be like Redick?

I used to pretend I was J.J. Redick. It’s funny when I think about it now — how, for a hot second, I thought I was gonna be a basketball player. When I was a kid, if I wasn’t playing football, you could probably find me on a basketball court somewhere, putting up shots, pretending it was March Madness and I was playing for Coach K at Duke.

I modeled my game after his because I was a shooter, just like him. We both played the two. We both wore number 4. And Duke was my mom’s favorite team, too. So, to me, the whole thing mapped out perfectly.

When I grew up, I wanted to be J.J. Redick.

What Happened to the Hoop Dreams?

Recently, Deshaun Watson put together a piece for the Player’s Tribune heading into NFL Week 15. Watson reflected back on his life, and how his road to football stardom came about. But first, he made it very clear that basketball was his initial plan. Eventually, a coach took Watson under his wing and helped him become the quarterback that he is today, and basketball was no longer the route he was going to take.

There’s no telling if that was the right move or not, but regardless football ended up working out. Watson was not only a National Champion at Clemson, but he managed to become a first-round pick in 2017. Unfortunately, his Rookie of the Year season was derailed because of an ACL injury, but now Watson is back on track and helping lead his team to the NFL playoffs. He didn’t end up becoming J.J. Redick, but he has made a name for himself in the NFL.