A friend of a friend-Michael Baker-Dwayne Watson-November 1

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for November 1, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

When you coach you sometimes realize how hard it is for a player on a team to impress another player. I was fortunate to coach a number of them. November is when college basketball teams begin playing games. That excitement along with the N.B.A. kicking off has a few of my former UNC Pembroke players talking about a teammate that they all respected. The player was from Fairmont, NC and his name was Dwayne “Sup” Watson. The nickname “Sup” was short for Superman.

Dwayne Watson was in the first basketball class I recruited as Head Basketball Coach at then Pembroke State University. He was in a freshman class with Ken Spencer out of Pinecrest HS (Southern Pines, NC) and Abdul Ghaffar from Northwood HS (Pittsboro, NC). I spend a lot of Tuesday and Friday nights going to watch Dwayne Watson and another two players in his conference Tim Southern and Patrick Lennon from Whiteville, NC play. This was 2A high school basketball but the talent in this one conference was off the chart. We never had a chance with Patrick since he was an outstanding baseball player. He got drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners. Tim Southern chose Lenoir-Rhyne instead of Pembroke and had a very nice career there.

The trips to watch Dwayne play at Fairmont were interesting. It was 1986 and they were playing in the middle school gym with wooden backboards. The place was dark and it was always packed. Dwayne was just a gifted athlete who had legitimate basketball skills. His jumping ability was David Thompson like.

My former players are all telling stories on social media and I will share some of them down below. My favorite all-time play with Dwayne was against St. Andrews College who was coached by Mark Simon at the time. Mark was a great coach and better man. We had the better team but they had talent including a player named Mark English. It was a rivalry game at Pembroke and it was coming down to the wire. We led by a point but they had the ball with under 10 seconds to play. They took a shot as the shot clock wound down and crashed everyone to the offensive boards. Out of nowhere Dwayne Watson jumps over everyone and secured the critical defensive rebound. He proceeded to imitate an NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld by throwing an outlet pass while still in the air to the other end of the court. The ball landed at the top of the key at our basket and was bouncing towards the baseline. Dwayne Watson beat everyone down the court and grabbed the ball (his own pass) and threw it off a St. Andrews defender. My assistant coach at the time was John Haskins and he said to me is that legal? I said I don’t care if it is illegal it is the best hustle play I have ever seen. The refs were stunned but gave us the ball and we ran out the clock. That was SUP making a spectacular play without scoring.

Some stories on Dwayne Watson from former teammates and classmates

SUP story from Abdul Ghaffar

We were all THE MAN at our respective High Schools. Little did i know Sup was THE MAN…Didn’t take long for us to make our way to the gym at Pembroke State during our freshman year and show what we could do. Immediately I was attacked at half court by Leon Crudup and Lorenzo McCormick. Thought i could dribble. About 5 straight turnovers later…I realized I had work to do. Sup on the other hand, about two possessions into our game was on the receiving end of a 3/4 court alley-oop from young Mr. Spencer…Things got quiet…Did we just see that? Well we saw it and saw it too many more times to count…In practice, in games, during pick up…I mean who breaks a backboard at 5:45 AM? SUPerman…Sup is a great guy, never arrogant. A guy we wanted to go to war with every game.

SUP story from Kelly Lampkin

Had to speak in on this. Sup could make you rethink a breakaway lay-up or dunk because he could cover both sides of the rim defensively. You could not reverse lay-up. He would screw the ball into the backboard with you on it! Don’t ask me how I know. LEGENDARY SUP!

SUP story from Rene Choim

He was the reason Pembroke hung breakaway rims in 1987. Broke two backboards in the same season-Correct

SUP story from Rick Quintana

I remember Sup coming into the gym with no warm up and wearing tight jeans and producing a dunk that shut down any dunk contest. That was Sup.

Dwayne was coached at Fairmont HS by a special man named Michael Baker

The Friend –DWAYNE “Sup” WATSON

The Friend of the Friend-MICHAEL BAKER

Michael Baker

Michael Baker is a lifer. That is a term for coaches that do it for right reasons. They want to make a difference with kids. Michael Baker was a heck of college basketball player at Roanoke College (VA).

He has won nearly 500 games as a high school coach but he has been a role model to a lot of students in community that needs role models. He helped me get Dwayne Watson in 1986 when he was a young coach starting out. Area North Carolina High school coaches like Michael Baker, Chuck Mohn, Ron Miller, Jeff Capel, Pete House, and Ted Gaskins helped Pembroke get some good players.

Dwayne “Sup” Watson was one of the best. Go ask the guys he played with.


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