Watson's length and instincts are imposing on defense. He recently surpassed 1,000 blocks for his high school career, which along with points and rebounds, makes three key statistics in which he's eclipsed the millennium mark. That is rare air.
Leopards coach Mark Javens says it is more than just Watson's length that makes him special.
"There aren't a whole lot of 6-foot-10 guys that can block shots the way Devontae can because he is so athletic, too," Javens said. "He steps up his game against better players, too."
While no one denies his impact on the defensive end, Watson knows he is not a finished product.
"Defense is my strength. But on offense, with my back to the basket, that's a weakness," he said. "I have gotten better but I'm not nearly perfect. I'm not going to dominate or anything next year at Temple with the moves I have, but they're working right now."
Watson's maturity hasn't curbed his expectations for next year, when he hopes to earn playing time for the Owls as a freshman.
"Coach [Fran] Dunphy told me they want me to play right away. After the season is over," Watson said, "I will be working hard to get bigger and working on my post moves. I am trying to start, trying to be that big guy for them next year."
Individual achievements aside, the state title Watson covets has been elusive. His Leopards lost in the semifinals in 2010 and the finals in 2011. That experience could prove vital on Friday.
"When you get to a championship game and you lose it, it shows you what you could or should have done," he says. "You can come back if you're good enough, and you already know what you have to do to win the game."
Watson figures to match up on Friday with Constitution forward Savon Goodman, another big time Division I recruit, in what should be a battle to remember.
"I have been waiting all year to get back and it's finally here," he said.
Constitution (Class A) will be joined by fellow District 12 finalists Imhotep Charter (AA) and Ss. Neumann-Goretti (AAA).
Neumann-Goretti, powered by leading scorers John Davis and Ja'Quan Newton, will play for its third straight state title at 8 p.m. Friday. The Saints face Montour in a rematch of last year's AAA final. The Spartans, who like to control the ball and the clock, will try to better adjust to N-G's run-and-gun style.
"We don't see that type of quickness and athletic ability very often out here," Montour coach Adam Kaufman said. "You can try to prepare for it, but it's going to be difficult without seeing it on a day-to-day basis."
Meanwhile, Imhotep Charter has won two of the last three AA titles, including last year's against Greensburg Central Catholic. With Penn State signee Brandon Austin playing in his future home, the Panthers will try to defend their crown at 2 p.m. Saturday against Beaver Falls.
"They're just a fantastic team," Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said about Imhotep. "They're playing on a whole different level from teams we see. They're long, quick and athletic and they have an advantage having played in this venue before."
Contact Alex Lee at email@example.com.