Every summer, the annual Metro Pro-Am Summer League in Omaha offers a place for local college and pro players to compete with and against each other in front of friends, family and fans.
Among this year’s field of competitors is former Husker Glynn Watson Jr. who is bouncing back and forth this summer between his home town of Chicago and Omaha where his girlfriend is staying.
Watson is playing for Churchill Mortgage in the Metro League alongside former teammate Dachon Burke Jr. Burke redshirted at Nebraska during Watson’s senior year after transferring from Robert Morris, so the two never got the chance to suit up and play together — until now.
On Thursday, Churchill Mortgage beat Bimbo Pietro, DDS (a team led by Norfolk grad/current pro Jalen Bradley and Omaha South grad/summer league fixture James Dumes) 116-96. Burke went off for 41 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals.
“It was fun,” Watson said about playing with Burke. “Obviously I practiced with him my last year, but he’s a good player. I watched some of the games when he was at Nebraska.”
Watson arrived late and didn’t score in the first half, but he found his rhythm after halftime and scored 20 points while hitting six of his eight 3s.
“I just came up here to get a run in because I worked out two times before this,” Watson said. “Get a run in and play with these guys because it’s fun. I like it. Last week we got blown out but it was still fun to play.”
Watson’s Churchill Mortgage team lost to a Going Vertical team led by a pair of former Creighton Bluejays in Khryi Thomas (currently under contract with the Houston Rockets) and Martin Krampelj (playing overseas). Thomas and Krampelj combined for 70 points, 26 rebounds and 13 assists. Omaha Westside product Jadin Booth, who transferred from Omaha to Florida Southern, added 34 points.
Watson led Churchill with 30 points (12-21 shooting including 5-of-11 from 3), nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in that game while Burke added 24 points and seven boards, but it wasn’t enough as Going Vertical won 128-101.
Up next, Churchill Mortgage will face First Pick (Peru State, the NAIA team Nebraska will play in its exhibition this year) on Monday at Going Vertical in Omaha at 5:30 p.m. The league is open to fans and free of charge, but seating is limited.
While he’s in Nebraska, Watson has been staying busy. In addition to working out to stay in shape and playing in the Metro League, Watson also helped at Thomas Viglianco’s youth basketball camp last month. Viglianco is a former pro and current skills trainer based in Lincoln who works with plenty of current and former Huskers including Isaiah Roby and the McGowens brothers.
“It was fun,” Watson said about the camp. “I had fun teaching some of the little girls and young boys. It was fun, three days, Monday through Wednesday. It was a fun, good time, good experience. I’m going to help with the Isaiah Roby camp too.”
Watson also made his way down to Lincoln on Friday to work out and check out the program.
Great to have @Glynn_Watson30 back in the gym as he gets ready for his 3rd season as a pro! As tough, competitive, and reliable as any player I have ever been around. #GBR #ProBigRed #GBall pic.twitter.com/9ifeTnp03D
— Matt Holt (@CoachMattyHolt) July 9, 2021
After graduating from Nebraska in 2019, Watson began his professional career with Lavrio of the Greek Basketball League. He played 20 games with Lavrio, averaging 8.0 points, 1.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game while shooting 36.9% from deep.
“It was fun,” Watson said. “It’s different, obviously, mentally, because you’re overseas, you’re by yourself and things like that. It was fun. It was a good experience just to be a pro and learn a lot … Greece is a nice place, beautiful place. I love the people.”
Watson enjoyed it so much that he signed with another team in the same league back in February, Kolossos Rodou. However, he played just eight games as Watson said his season was cut short by COVID-19. He averaged 8.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 19.9 minutes per game, logging one start.
Watson has continued to follow the Huskers when he’s been able to and he’ll have extra incentive to do so next season as he’s known Fred Hoiberg’s newest addition, Arizona State transfer Alonzo Verge Jr., for a long time.
“I grew up with him,” Watson said. “Obviously he’s younger than me but I just know him from when he was real small.”
Verge, a Chicago native, avenged 14.3 points in two seasons as a Sun Devil after a standout junior college career at Mobley Community College where he averaged over 30 points per game as a sophomore.
“I like it,” Watson said about the addition for Nebraska. “He’s a good player. Obviously he did a lot, sixth man of the year his first year at Arizona State. You all are getting a good player. Hopefully he comes in and fits with the team and gets to work. I haven’t talked to him in while but I’m just going to talk to him and tell him to do work when he gets out there. I think he’ll like it out here. Obviously it’s going to be different than Arizona State, whole different situation. But I think it will keep him focused, staying out here in Nebraska and hopefully he can have a great year this year and help them make it to the tournament.”
As for what’s next for him, Watson said he’s continuing to talk with his agent about opportunities for next season. In the mean time, he’ll continuing to work out and stay in shape so he’s ready when he finds his next team.