Making his ABL debut with the Macau Black Bears last season, Ryan Watkins put up excellent numbers as he averaged 21.8 points and 14.8 rebounds a game. Due to his output, he was able to punch through the league’s top 10 scorers list while also leading the league in rebounds. However, despite his remarkable production, the 6’9″ big man still felt he was overlooked as one of the top players in the league.
“This past season, I did feel like I was overlooked despite my averages,” Watkins said in an interview. “I don’t do anything flashy, I probably won’t wow you with crazy athleticism or overwhelming size. But I pride myself on putting on my hard hat going to work every day, and trying to do whatever it takes to help give my team the best chance of winning.”
During last season’s Playoffs, Watkins’ season was cut short as the Macau Black Bears were eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual finalists, the Singapore Slingers. The early playoff exit only added fuel to the flame as the American used the setback as extra motivation during the offseason.
“We didn’t finish where we wanted to in the playoffs last year and that definitely motivated me this summer,” Watkins told the ABL’s official website. “This summer I focused [on] my conditioning so I can play faster. I’m already 15 pounds lighter than I was last year.”
Heading to the league’s milestone season, Watkins took another big step in his career as he signed with the Thailand-based Mono Vampire Basketball Club.
Regarding his move, Watkins stated, “I was excited for the opportunity to join the club and the fact that Anthony [Tucker] had already signed made it even easier to make the decision.”Watkins joined a powerhouse lineup that included Freddie Lish, Michael Singletary, and former MVPs, Tyler Lamb and Anthony Tucker –further stacking Mono Vampire’s firepower for the upcoming season.However, disaster struck during the team’s first practice as Anthony Tucker injured his foot once again, with no timetable for his return. Despite the offseason setback, Ryan Watkins and the rest of the team looks to move forward.
“The good thing is that we have a while until the season starts so that will give him time to recover. He is also looking forward to the challenge, and if anyone can overcome something like this, it’s him and we all believe that he will. So, it is unfortunate but we do expect him to return to us this season,” Watkins adds as he expresses his sentiments about Tucker’s situation.
Moving forward, Watkins cannot wait for the tenth season of the ABL to commence. He expects that teams will be tougher and more competitive, but the center is looking forward to the challenge.
“As far as our goals go, we want to win a championship—that’s no secret. We have a lot of talent and everyone is willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team,” he adds.
Ryan Watkins epitomizes the definition of being a team player. Although he may not be the flashiest player in the league, he continuously exerts maximum effort for the team—sacrificing what’s needed to get that victory. Mono Vampire surely struck gold as they get a reliable on-court player who could put up notable digits in hopes of asserting their dominance in the ABL.