Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Former Paterson (N.J.) Catholic and Syracuse standout Darryl “Mookie” Watkins is headed East.
To the Far East.
The 6-foot-11 Watkins signed a contract to play for Tianjin of the Chinese Basketball League. The story was originally reported by Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard.
“He told me was going to fly out to China to play,” said Marquis Webb, Watkins’ former Paterson Catholic teammate and former Rutgers standout. “He sounded pretty excited. He sounded real excited.”
“He had a bunch of other options,” said Watkins’ agent, Mark Bartelstein. “But we felt this was a good situation for him because the season’s not that long over there and it gives him a chance to come back and play in the NBA or go to the the NBDL.”
Watkins played the NBA preseason with the San Antonio Spurs. He was waived but not before Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich briefly confused Watkins with Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins.
“I’m still not going to play Tim (Duncan) or Fab (Oberto) much, so we’ll go small and play Dawkins — wait, what’s-his-name, Watkins — and (Charles) Gaines as much as we have to so we can keep those guys rested,” Popovich said in October, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Dawkins, the 6-11, 250-pound center nearly as famous for naming his spectacular dunks as for completing them, played 14 seasons in the NBA, from 1975-76 to 1988-89.
As for Watkins, he began the 2007-08 season with the Sacramento Kings, but was released after nine games. He then went to the NBA’s Development League, splitting the year between the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Iowa Energy.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.