Watford wins ESPY best play of the year for buzzer beater
That was the reaction by ESPN’s Dick Vitale when Indiana senior power forward Christian Watford hit a buzzer-beating three pointer – now popularly known by Hoosier fans as the “Wat Shot” – to knock off eventual national champion Kentucky, 73-72, in front of a packed Assembly Hall crowd on Dec. 10, 2011.
Watford’s clutch shot gave Indiana the win over the No. 1 team in the nation at the time, but last night his shot helped Indiana basketball to another type of win: an ESPY.
The Wat Shot was voted ESPN’s Play of the Year at the ESPYs Wednesday night, further immortalizing the moment Hoosier fans felt like their program was “back” following the Kelvin Sampson debacle of 2008 and three straight seasons of futility.
"It's just indescribable. All I know is I saw Verdell (Jones III) driving and I just tried to loop behind him. He did a great job of finding me and I knocked down the shot," Watford said after the game.
With less than six seconds remaining in the game, Jones III took the inbounds pass and quickly dribbled up the court, using a Cody Zeller screen in the back court to make it past mid court. Jones then dribbled a few steps inside the three-point line on the left wing, absorbed his defender, spun and passed to a trailing Watford.
A wide open Watford rose and knocked down the shot, sending the crimson-clad crowd into a court-storming frenzy. To watch the play on YouTube, click here.
The play was selected by fans, who voted on 16 plays in a bracket-style competition though multiple rounds of voting.
Against the Wildcats that night, Watford finished with 20 points, including 4-of-6 three-pointers, and grabbed five rebounds.
For the 2012 season, Watford averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 43.7 percent shooting in 28.4 minutes per game. He shot over 43 percent from beyond the arc, 41.6 percent from the floor and 81.5 percent from the line.
– Joe Popely