Christian Watford

(Photo: Rich Barnes, USA TODAY Sports)

(Contributors: Dakota Thompson)

Christian Watford Biography

Christian Watford is a basketball player born in Birmingham, Alabama who played for Indiana University. Christian Watford played the Small Forward for the Hoosiers for four seasons between 2009 and 2013. The Alabama native was recruited by Tom Crean and played at Shades Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Christian Watford is most well known for his gaming-winning, buzzer-beater three point shot against the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats team in 2011. That shot has been nicknamed the “Wat Shot.” He has a younger brother, Trendon Watford, who played for LSU in college.

  • Name: Christian Ramon Watford
  • Position: Small Forward
  • Nationality: USA
  • Age: 33 years old
  • Birthday: April 28th, 1991
  • Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
  • High School: Shades Valley High School (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • Height: 6’9″ (206 cm)
  • Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
  • Seasons: 4 (2009-2013)
  • Jersey: #2
  • Latest Team: Raptors 905
  • NBA Draft: 2013 / Undrafted
  • Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Broadcasting

Awards and Accolades

  • No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers All-Time Scoring List (1730 points)
  • No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers All-Time Rebounding List (776 rebounds)
  • 2010 Big Ten All-Freshman Team
  • 2011 “Wat Shot”
  • 2012 ESPY Play of the Year
  • 2013 Third-team All-Big Ten
  • 2017 NBA D-League Champion

Christian Watford High School Recruiting Profile

Christian Watford was a 4-star Small Forward from Birmingham, Alabama. He went to Shades Valley High School and was a graduate of the 2009 class. He was one of the highest rated small forwards in his class, rated between 4th and 15th from various recruiting websites. As a junior, he averaged 22 points, and 14 rebounds and as a senior, he improved to 25 points, and 13 rebounds per game. He led the Shades Valley High School Mounties to a 26-6 record in his final year and was named part of the Birmingham News Super Senior Team. His coach throughout high school was Coach Mike Burrus. He played AAU basketball for M33M.

  • 247 Composite Ranking: 4-Star (0.9847)
  • Rivals: 4-Star (34th Overall, 6th SF)
  • Scout: 72nd overall, 15th Small Forward
  • ESPN: 94 Rating, 26th overall, 4th Small Forward
Source: Rivals

Watford was a highly recruited small forward coming out of high school. he was viewed as being an “excellent student and big time shooter. Sturdy body and he’s comfortable from different spots on the floor. Should be one of the top tier guys at his position nationally.” He received offers from Indiana, Alabama, Louisville, and Memphis. He ultimately committed to Indiana University on September 9, 2008 under Tom Crean. He stated that he chose Indiana because “they have a real good basketball tradition there and I think coach Crean is going to come in and restore the program. Basically, I just like their tradition. It’s Indiana, you know.”

Christian Watford Seasons with the Hoosiers

2009-2010 Indiana Basketball Season
Tom Crean (2nd Season)
10-21 (4-14 Big Ten)
9th Place Big Ten

2010-2011 Indiana Basketball Season
Tom Crean (3rd Season)
12-20 (3-15 Big Ten)
11th Place Big Ten

2011-2012 Indiana Basketball Season
Tom Crean (4th Season)
27-9 (11-7 Big Ten)
5th Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2012-2013 Indiana Basketball Season
Tom Crean (5th Season)
29-7 (14-4 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen

Indiana University Career Statistics

(Source: Indiana University Athletics)

2009-10 31 31 884 28.5 120 320 0.375 15 47 0.319 116 145 0.8 60 127 187 6 67 1 18 0.6 72 19 16 371 12
2010-11 29 28 845 29.1 143 339 0.422 37 97 0.381 140 166 0.843 41 115 156 5.4 67 1 32 1.1 55 12 22 463 16
2011-12 36 36 1023 28.4 141 339 0.416 52 119 0.437 119 146 0.815 42 166 208 5.8 73 0 48 1.3 62 16 27 453 12.6
2012-13 36 35 1005 27.9 127 294 0.432 60 124 0.484 129 159 0.811 48 177 225 6.3 81 1 31 0.9 58 17 22 443 12.3
Total 132 130 3757 28.5 531 1292 0.411 164 387 0.424 504 616 0.818 191 585 776 6.0 288 3 129 1.0 247 64 87 1730 13.1

Christian Watford Indiana University Basketball Career

Immediately upon Watford’s arrival to Indiana University, he had a powerful impact to the team. He was one of two players on the team to start the entire 31 games of the season during 2009-2010. He led freshmen in the Big Ten in scoring with 12.0 ppg and was 19th overall. Additionally, he led the Big Ten in rebounds with 6.0 per game and free throw percentage with 80%. He made the all-Big Ten Freshman team and was Big Ten Freshman of the year per Sporting News. He recorded a double-double four times throughout the year.

In Watford’s sophomore season, he played 29 games and started 28. He missed three games due to a broken hand he suffered while at Michigan State. Ultimately, he finished with 16.0 ppg and 10th overall in the Big Ten, was second in free throw percentage with 84.3%. Despite his improving game, Indiana continued to struggle as a team in Tom Crean’s third season as coach. The Hoosiers ultimately finished 12-20 and 3-15 in the Big Ten. They finished in last place in the division, despite having two victories against ranked opponents in the league, No. 20 Illinois and No. 18 Minnesota.

Source: Bleacher Report

Watford’s junior season marked one of the most memorable seasons in Hoosier history. The team had an impressive 12-0 start, matching their entire previous season’s wins before they started conference play. Watford became a household name with one of the most iconic shots in Hoosier history against No 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall. December 10, 2011, Indiana defeated Kentucky on a last-second three point field goal from Watford, stunning Kentucky 73-72. Watford finished the game with 20 points and 5 rebounds while going 4-6 from three. This marked the only time eventual national champion Kentucky lost in the regular season and prevented the Wildcats from matching the record set by the 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosier team. Watford’s shot won 2012 ESPY Award for “Best Play” and was named the 2012 GEICO Play of the Year. Watford said in response to the shot, “I haven’t felt anything like that. It’s probably the most memorable moment of my life, definitely of my career.” Watford finished the season with 12.6 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, a downturn from prior seasons, but due to an increasingly deep team with new talent such as Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers ended the season as a No. 4 seed for the tournament and lost to Kentucky in a rematch in the Sweet 16. He led the Hoosiers with 27 points, 5 rebounds and two assists and two blocks in the loss to Kentucky. Watford surpassed the 1,000 point mark as a Hoosier in that same season.

Source: IU Athletics

Come his senior year, there were reports that Watford would enter the NBA draft, but he opted to stay for one more year with the Hoosiers. In a statement, Watford disclosed “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to complete my degree and to continue restoring the winning tradition at IU. I believe in Coach Crean and our staff and I am eager to lead my new teammates and build on what we started.” He was named one of the top 50 candidates for the Wooden Award in the Preseason list. With the addition of 5-star Yogi Ferrell, the Hoosiers were looking to be favorites in the Big Ten. In the 2012-2013 season, Indiana finished as outright Big Ten champions for the first time since 2002 alongside the talented Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, and Watford had 12.4 ppg and 6.4 rebounds. He finished with 48.6% shooting from three-point range, which was the team best ahead of teammate Jordan Hulls. Watford earned Third Team All-Big Ten Honors and led the team to a No. 1 seed in the tournament. They lost to Syracuse in the Sweet 16. This was the first season that Indiana made back-to-back Sweet 16s since 1992-1994. He finished his career at Indiana with 1,730 points and 9th in Indiana history. He finished 9th in rebounds with 776 as well.

Watford also set a number of Indiana University records during his senior season:

  • Ranked 9th in Indiana University’s career scoring list with 1,730 points
  • Ranked 9th in Indiana University’s career rebound list with 776 rebounds
  • Fifth in career three point percentage at 44.1 percent
  • Third in career free throw percentage at 85.9 percent
  • Played in 135 career games, which set a new Indiana University record

Christian Watford Career after Indiana

Watford entered the NBA draft at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season and entered the 2013 NBA draft. He went undrafted, but joined the Indiana Pacers for the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks for the Las Vegas Summer League. On July 30, Watford signed with Hapoel Eilat of Israel. He started 23 games and played in 37 and averaged 9.9 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game.

Source: Raptors HQ

For the 2014-2015 season, Watford joined the Detroit Pistons for the Orlando Summer League and Golden State Warriors for the Las Vegas Summer League. He signed with the Boston Celtics on September 29, 2014. He was later waived on October 27 and was signed by the Maine Red Claws as an affiliate four days later. March 4, 2015, he signed with the Reno Bighorns and was waived on March 28.

In 2016-2017, Watford was acquired by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and was traded to the Raptors 905 on January 27, 2017.

  • 2013-2014 Season: Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli Basketball Super League
  • 2014-2015 Season: Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League, Boston Celtics Affiliate
  • 2015 Season: Reno Bighorns of the NBA G League, Sacremento Kings Affiliate
  • 2016-2017 Season: Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League, Indiana Pacers Affiliate
  • 2017-2019: Raptors 905 of the NBA G League, Toronto Raptors Affiliate

Christian Watford Videos and Highlights

Highlights as a Hoosier

Highlights after Graduation from Indiana University

Highlights at Shade Valley High School

Interviews and other videos of Christian Watford

Check out the rich history of Indiana Hoosiers basketball!

Every week, we are publishing new articles on former and current Indiana University basketball legends, historical figures, and other IU history. Our goal is to capture the history of the Hoosiers all in one place. Click here to see our current collection of articles on Indiana basketball tradition.

Have a favorite Indiana Hoosier basketball player, coach, or event?

Help grow the Hoosier basketball history books by being a contributor to one of our IU athletics history pages! IndianaHQ is always looking for writers of all ages and experience levels. If you think you have what it takes, drop us an email here or send us a tweet!