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USC basketball legend Cheryl Miller offers JuJu Watkins advice ahead of NCAA tournament debut

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USC freshman JuJu Watkins has taken the college basketball world by storm. Her productive season has propelled the Trojans women’s basketball team to nearly the top of the college basketball ranks.

Watkins is among the growing list of stars in women’s college basketball that is headlined by upperclassmen such as Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, LSU’s Angel Reese, and UConn’s Paige Bueckers.

Watkins earned national player of the year honors on multiple occasions during her impressive run as a California high school basketball player. Her abilities on the basketball court have seamlessly transferred to the college basketball level.

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JuJu Watkins is congratulated by Cheryl Miller

Southern California Trojans guard JuJu Watkins (32) is congratulated by Cheryl Miller after a NCAA college womens basketball game against the Colorado Buffaloes on February 23, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Colorado 87-81. (Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

Watkins broke nearly every USC women’s basketball record this season during her rise to stardom.

The Trojans finished the season strong, winning 12 of their last 13 games, and are preparing for Saturday’s first round NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament game against Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.

2024 NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT SELECTIONS REVEALED

USC basketball legend Cheryl Miller has been a fixture at USC games this season. The Trojans resurgent season has attracted multiple music stars, actors and professional athletes, from Kevin Hart to LeBron James.

JuJu Watkins dribbles

Southern California Trojans guard JuJu Watkins (12) dribbles the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes during a NCAA college women’s basketball game on February 23, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Colorado 87-81. (Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

As the start of March Madness looms for USC, Miller encouraged Watkins to take some time to find a way to avoid “mental fatigue.”

“I want you to find that quiet space where no one else [is], where it’s your time to exhale…I’m not worried about the physical. You’re a young kid, and you’re going to continue to grow into your body,” Miller told Watkins during a sit down with Andscape. “But it’s the mental fatigue that I worry from you. It’s not a basketball…It’s the business aspect. That’s what I need from you, to find that quiet space.”

USC enters the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Portland 3 Region. The Trojans have not advanced to the Final Four since 1986 — Miller’s senior season.

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Watkins averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season. Clark, the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer across men’s and women’s basketball, is the only player to average more points than Watkins this season.  

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