JuJu Watkins is continuing on a historic pace, having broken Lisa Leslie’s record for 30-point games by a USC freshman just six games into the season.
As the unanimous No. 1 overall recruit of the 2023 class, Watkins came to the Trojans with high expectations – both from others and from herself. She even went so far as to tell Ari Chambers that among her goals for her college career are to win the national freshman of the year award and to lead USC to the national title by her senior year.
“Definitely have to have a natty by then for sure,” Watkins said.
And she’s off to a solid start.
After scoring a USC record 32 points in her debut, Watkins is averaging 26.8 points per game, sitting second in the nation behind reigning national player of the year Caitlin Clark (29.6). Through the first three weeks of the season, she’s taken home every single Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award – and she probably will take home the next.
Through six career games, Watkins has 161 points, 45 rebounds, 19 assists, 14 steals and 8 blocks, and she has helped USC to a perfect 6-0 record. In the last 20 years, according to OptaSTATS, just one other NBA, WNBA or D-I basketball player has reached all of those numbers over a six-game span: LeBron James.
Watkins also has led the No. 6 Trojans to their highest AP Top 25 ranking since 1994 – when Leslie was in her senior year.
And Watkins has gained the attention of NBA stars, including USC alum DeMar DeRozan.
“I’ve known her for awhile, so I’m not surprised at it at all,” he said of her performances so far. “Not at all. It’s amazing to see what she represent, what she come from. To be able to stay home and bring women’s basketball back to the high level that it’s at. … It’s amazing to see what she’s doing with that. What the whole program is doing. I’m not surprised, but I’m definitely happy for sure.”
The record for most 30-point games by a Trojan freshman now belongs to JuJu Watkins! pic.twitter.com/NLwguOEVTH— USC Women's Basketball (@USCWBB) November 29, 2023
The record for most 30-point games by a Trojan freshman now belongs to JuJu Watkins! pic.twitter.com/NLwguOEVTH