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WNBA star Jewell Loyd is subtle but profound in her praise of JuJu Watkins

We often refer in the sports industry to the vague but real “it” factor. It’s not an exact scientific thing, but it’s one of those “you know it when you see it” elements of greatness. It doesn’t show up in statistics or physical measurements. It’s an awareness that an athlete has special competitive or instinctual qualities other athletes simply lack.

Others might call it a “sixth sense.” Some might call it a born or natural feel for the game. Whatever you want to call it, it’s powerful, and great athletes see this when they meet other athletes.

Consider WNBA star Jewell Loyd. She met USC’s JuJu Watkins. She came away with a very clear observation, though also a subtle one. The main point: She saw something special in Watkins, marking the USC freshman as not just another star player. There’s a little something extra with JuJu.

The “it” factor.

Via the Los Angeles Times, Loyd said this about Watkins:

“Meeting her, you instantly get this focus, this drive, this quiet curiosity that she has about the game.”

That statement by Loyd points to something deeper that can’t easily be named, but which exists. It’s there, it is felt, it is perceived. It’s real. It matters.

This is JuJu Watkins, who is only just beginning to build something at USC.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire