Peyton Watson, a 5-star recruit out of Long Beach Poly High School, joined the Titus and Tate podcast on Monday, announcing his commitment to UCLA.
In explaining why he decided on UCLA, Watson cited not only the school's rich basketball legacy, but his educational goals as well.
"[UCLA] checked all the boxes ... It's not only a basketball decision, it's a life decision. Eventually, that ball is going to stop bouncing, so I feel like my education at UCLA, my ability to come back if I leave early and get that degree and set me up for life, is a big deal."
According to 247 Sports, Watson is the No. 8 ranked player in the nation and the No. 1 player in the state of California for the class of 2021.
Watson's commitment gives UCLA its first 5-star recruit of the Mick Cronin era, after 5-star guard Daishen Nix decommitted from UCLA in April and decided to take his talents to the NBA G-League.
247 Sports national recruiting analyst Josh Gershon weighed in on Watson's commitment to UCLA.
"Peyton is easily one of the best prospects that UCLA has signed in recent years. His trajectory over the last two years has been extremely unique. I can't recall seeing a player make the jump that Peyton has, going from a backup as a sophomore to a top 10 national wing in a year and ahalf. It's a testament to his work ethic and drive."
This past summer, Watson played on the Nike EYBL circuit with Paul Pierce's The Truth 16U squad, and unlike most 5-star recruits, earned his first high school start as a junior, after coming off the bench his sophomore year.
As a junior, the. 6'7", 195-pound Watson averaged 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds for Poly.
"His physical profile – with his size, length, athleticism, ball skills and jumper – he has the full package," said Gershon. "And he still hasn't come close to reaching his full potential."