USC coaching staff is trying to give JuJu Watkins a comfort zone in freshman season

Great coaches allow great players to be who and what they are, but they still need to create an environment in which those players aren’t smothered by outside pressure and don’t get overwhelmed by the demands of the public. This is the balancing act for Lindsay Gottlieb at USC, as the Trojans’ head coach tries to put superstar player JuJu Watkins in the best possible position to thrive.

Beth Harris of the Associated Press reported on the story and gained insights from Gottlieb and Watkins.

“I think we’re headed for some unprecedented things,” Gottlieb said. “She (JuJu) handles all of this with such grace. We try to do a good job of allowing her to be her, which is different and special, but also shielding her from some extra stuff. We’re constantly kind of updating that plan as we go.”

“She understands her importance in the community,” Gottlieb added. “As good of a player as she is, she’s really even a better human. I know it sounds cliché but it’s the truth. Her village and her circle is really adept at putting her in the best possible situation to be happy and to succeed.”

Watkins remarked that “It’s very heartwarming just to feel the energy here (in Los Angeles), feel all the love. It’s amazing, especially that it’s in my hometown. I’m able to see people that I don’t really get to see as often, see family and little kids, it’s really cool.”

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire