Former MSU guard Rocket Watts transfers to Mississippi State


MSU point guard Rocket Watts rises for a jumpshot/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Robert Butterson, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING – Former four-star recruit and Detroit native Rocket Watts has announced his transfer from Michigan State to Mississippi State after entering the transfer portal on March 29. He is the fourth former Michigan State basketball player to transfer this offseason after former guards Foster Loyer and Jack Hoiberg and forward Thomas Kithier.

The Bulldogs finished 18-15 in the regular season and failed to make the NCAA tournament after a 37-point loss to Alabama in the second round of the SEC tournament. Despite missing out on the Big Dance, head coach Ben Howland engineered a solid NIT tournament performance as Mississippi State lost to Memphis 77-64 in the championship game. 

Watts, who spent his high school career at three different schools in Michigan and Ohio, was rated as the No. 39 overall recruit by 247Sports within the 2019 recruiting class in addition to being a high four-star recruit. Before initially choosing MSU, he held offers from notable college basketball powers including UConn, Florida State, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Louisville, LSU and Oregon.

MSU forward Gabe Brown (44) and guard Rocket Watts (2) celebrate after the Spartans beat No. 2 Michigan 70-64 on March 7, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

In Watts’ two seasons with the Spartans, he combined to average 8.4 points per game while shooting 26.9% from 3-point range. Overall, in his freshman year, Watts averaged 9.0 points per game and shot 28.1% from deep; his efforts landed him on the 2020 Big Ten All-Freshman team. 

Watts averaged 7.7 points per game during the 2020-21 season and shot 25.3% from long range. He also appeared in 55 overall games with the Spartans, including 31 starts.

The Bulldogs have the No. 38 rated incoming recruiting class according to 247Sports, which is the eighth-best mark  in the SEC conference. Additionally, the Bulldogs have landed four transfer players since the end of the season in former NC State guard Shakeel Moore, former UNC forward Garrison Brooks and former Memphis forward DJ Jeffries.