NUTLEY – Nutley High School seniors Blair Watson and Anthony Condito signed their National Letter of Intent in accepting collegiate athletic scholarships during National Signing Day on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at NHS.
Watson signed with the University of Maryland to play basketball while Condito signed with Rutgers University to play baseball. Maryland and Rutgers are Big 10 Conference schools.
Watson is one of the top female basketball players in the country. The 6-foot forward is ranked No. 28 overall in the nation, according to HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings.
Watson last season averaged 23 points a game to help the Raiders capture the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 tournament championship. The fifth-seeded Raiders pulled off three straight upset road wins, capped by the 57-53 win over second-seeded Voorhees in the championship. Watson scored 21 points in the 37-19 quarterfinal win at fifth-seeded Orange. She scored 34 points in the 43-38 semifinal win over top-seeded Mendham and scored 29 against Voorhees in the final. The Raiders then fell to Old Tappan, 44-28, in the state Group 3 semifinal to finish a 17-14 season. Watson was held to 14 points.
Watson verbally committed to Maryland following a breakout sophomore season in which she averaged 17 points a game to help the Raiders advance to the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 tournament championship game against West Morris. Watson scored 39 points, but NHS lost, 63-60. It was the first sectional final appearance for the team since the 1976-77 season.
Watson verbally committed to Maryland prior to her junior year.
Maryland is one of the top teams in the nation. Last season, the Terrapins reached the NCAA Final Four, losing to eventual champion UConn in the national semifinals, to finish with a 34-3 record. This season, Maryland is ranked No. 9 in the nation.
Watson was elated with her decision to attend Maryland.
“This is one of the best decisions of my life,” she said. “This is going to impact me for the next four years, but to me, it’s a great decision on my part, definitely.”
Watson chose Maryland because of its family atmosphere, distance from home, and championship-level of play, which are “everything you want in college,” she said.
Watson hopes to make an impact as a freshman next year.
Condito, who bats and throws left-handed, has been a standout right fielder since his freshman year for the NHS varsity baseball team. Last spring, Condito batted .530 with 35 hits, including eight doubles, two triples and three homers, 19 RBI and 25 runs in 21 games. The Raiders were Greater Newark Tournament semifinalists and finished with a 14-14 record. Following the season, Condito made his verbal commitment to Rutgers. He then was named the MVP of the sixth annual Essex-Union Underclassmen All-Star Game in which he tripled twice in three at-bats, driving in four runs and scoring a run, as he led the Essex All-Stars to a 12-7 win.
Condito was enamored with Rutgers, located in New Brunswick..
“Their campus is beautiful,” he said. Condito chose Rutgers because it’s close to home, which will make it easy for family members to see him play, he said.
Condito’s goals at Rutgers are to finish his career there and to graduate. Condito cited his family, friends and coaches as his main influences. “They all helped me get here,” said Condito, referring to his success.