Jon Dinan | Democrat
Fallsburg’s Rakkir Watson explodes past Sullivan West defenders en route to an easy basket. Watson led all Section IX scorers this season with a 24 points per game average.
Player of the Year: Rakkir Watson, Fallsburg Comets
Story by Eli Ruiz
FALLSBURG March 29, 2013 This year’s Democrat Player of the Year didn’t bring up his Section IX leading 23.3-point per game average when asked what he felt was his greatest accomplishment this season. Rakkir Watson doesn’t even mention his 45-point explosion against Millbrook in the first round of the Section IX tournament in February, nudging his Comets past the pesky Blazers and into the second sectional round.
A young man of few words, Watson offered, “I have to say that what we accomplished as a team in the Tri-Valley game in December how we never gave up and came together as a team to erase their huge lead. I have to call that our greatest accomplishment as a team this last season because I got hurt in that game and other guys stepped up. We ended up losing that game by one point [73-72] but we came out a much better team.”
Better team indeed as the Comets would open the new year with an 8-1 tear starting with a blowout of Livingston Manor on January 4 and assuring them an appearance in the Section IX tournament.
Watson has been a fixture on the Fallsburg varsity basketball squad since coach Pete Dworetsky brought him up as a freshman to supply some much-needed ball-handling skills.
Watson has expanded those dribbling skills to include a full repertoire of passing, shooting and defensive assets.
Entering this season as a senior, Watson was the single returning starter from a 14-6 team that had lost 11 players to graduation.
Needless to say the pressure was on him to be a true leader for the Comets.
“It wasn’t just me this season,” said Watson. “People said we weren’t going to succeed this season because of all the players we lost from last year. But we didn’t listen to any of that talk. We just went out and played our game.
“I can’t just dribble up and pull everytime. I have to rely on screens and teammates getting open to get me get open.”
According to Dworetsky, it was Watson’s maturity that made all the difference between winning and losing this year.
“He’s [Watson] come so far from where he started as a freshman, it’s incredible,” said Dworetsky. “And it’s been just a pleasure to watch him grow. He really became a believer in my message that good, bad, or indifferent, this team is going to watch your every move and your every reaction. He not only became a leader to his teammates, but also someone I was confident I could depend on.”
Regarding his feelings entering the season, Watson said, “I was a little nervous. There was a lot of pressure there and a lot of negative talk about how we would do [with losing 11 players from last year’s team]. But I’ve been playing with guys like Jarrett Madison and Aaron Burrell since we were little kids. We don’t just play together during the season; we’ve played together for years on the courts or in the cage. We just have great team chemistry, but I also knew I had to be a real leader this season.”
Asked to assess his huge 45-point performance in the Comets’ first-round sectional playoff game, Watson said simply, “That was a game I just felt I had to take into my own hands. It was a big game and just like with earlier in the season, everyone doubted us. I just wanted them all to know what this game meant to us.”
As an unselfish player with the confidence to know when and if he should take-over a game, Watson used his four years at the varsity level to not only hone his game but to also sharpen his leadership skills and grow as a person. Ultimately he became a player his teammates and coach could truly count on, and for these reasons, The Democrat’s Player of the Year.
“It’s easy to be named a team captain,” said Dworetsky. “But to actually be a leader, a good teammate and to do all of the things expected of you? He [Watson] did a great job.”
Watson plans to continue playing basketball at the next level saying he’s currently considering offers to play ball at either Ulster County Community College or SUNY Orange. “I don’t know where I’m playing yet, but it’ll probably be either Ulster or Orange,” explained Watson.
Points per game: 24.10