BYU added a big piece to next year’s roster as 6-foot-11 forward Noah Waterman announced his commitment to BYU. Noah committed to BYU after taking an official visit to Provo June 16-17. Schools such as Mississippi State, Clemson, and several other Power Conference schools pursued Noah and tried to get him on campus for official visits, but Noah liked enough what he saw at BYU to commit and not extend his recruitment further into the summer.
Below are some pictures from his official visit with his brother that his family sent me.
BYU’s path to playing time, fit in Mark Pope’s offense, and upcoming Big 12 inclusion were all factors on Noah’s decision. He has at least two years of eligibility remaining, which I explain in more detail below.
Waterman is listed as a guard/forward by Detroit Mercy because of his ability to hit threes and put the ball on the floor. He will likely play mostly as a stretch 4 at BYU, but can play positions two through five. Noah committed to St Bonaventure June 1, but backed off that commitment shortly.
Waterman has been in college for three seasons. He started his career at Niagara, where he played in 8 games before a nagging ankle injury shut him down for the rest of the season. He entered the transfer portal after his freshman year and went to Detroit Mercy, where he spent the last two seasons.
Waterman played in only 15 games during the COVID shortened 2020-2021. He initially was forced to sit out the beginning of the season until the NCAA gave a blanket transfer waiver allowing him to begin playing in December. Waterman averaged 12 points and 4.5 boards that season on 53% shooting from three (he averaged just under 5 attempts a game) and 56% from the field. His three-point shooting percentage was 3rd nationally, according to KenPom.
Noah slowed down some this last season and missed some games due to COVID, but averaged 8 points on 38% shooting from deep. In two seasons at Detroit Mercy he averaged 10 points and 4.2 boards on 44% shooting from three. 169 out his 243 field goal attempts (69%) were threes, so Noah does a lot of his damage at the three-point line.
He has at least two years of eligibility remaining, and three if he uses a medical redshirt from his freshman year. Noah would qualify for a medical redshirt, it just depends if he decides to utilize it, something he likely won’t decide until the end of his college career. His first year at Detroit Mercy was the free COVID year and doesn’t count against his eligibility. Even if decides to play only two years, he will be around for BYU’s inaugural Big 12 season.
I really like Noah’s upside, and it’s fairly remarkable he even became a college athlete. Growing up in upstate New York, Noah was homeschooled and played high school basketball at Finger Lakes Christian School, a private K-12 school in Seneca Falls, New York with fewer than 100 students. Noah was one of two people in his graduating class, his high school coach John Sandlas told me.
Finger Lakes offers three sports for students grades 7-12 — soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Noah unsurprisingly dominated at the high school level, averaging 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks a game. As you can see from high school highlights at the bottom, his competition level wasn’t exactly top notch and his high school gym had 2 rows of fold out chairs.
Noah was 6-foot-2 as a high school sophomore and played guard all of his life to that point, which helped him develop the guard skills he has now despite being almost 7 feet. He shot up to 6-foot-10 his senior year and is now 6-foot-11. College basketball wasn’t really on Noah’s radar until his senior year — he didn’t have the resources to play AAU ball, didn’t travel around for camps, and played at such a low level colleges virtually had no one way of seeing him.
After his senior year, Noah made a push to get recognized by schools. His high school coach had played college level golf and knew a little bit about college recruitment. Noah sent film to a ton of schools in hopes of being picked up. One of those schools was Niagara, a nearby school to Finger Lakes, and they had him on campus in July 2019 after the National Signing period and just months before school started. That’s usually well after high school players sign, let alone at a D1 school, but they liked Noah’s potential enough to offer him a late scholarship.
Noah is one of nine children and grew up in modest circumstances. He didn’t play AAU ball and largely relied on his small high school and brothers for developing his game. He has the type of story that will be fantastic to tell when BYUtv does their “Deep Blue” feature on him next season.
BYU will give him the best resources, facilities, and training he has had in his life. Noah’s training regime his whole life has pretty much just been him and his brothers. Niagara and Detroit Mercy are low-major colleges, so BYU’s annex and training program will be a huge step up. There’s not many 6-11 guys that can shoot lights out and put the ball on the floor, so Noah could feasibly develop into one of BYU’s best players. Sources close to BYU and other college basketball pundits I have talked to are really high on Noah’s ability and potential to pop. I expect him to be in the starting lineup next to Fouss in the frontcourt. He’ll need a waiver to play immediately since this is his second undergrad transfer, but sources close to the situation have told me Noah has a good chance to receive the waiver. Not quite the slam dunk that Jaxson Robinson’s case is, so that will be something to monitor the weeks and months ahead.
Noah fills a void in BYU’s frontcourt and complements Fousseyni Traore and Atiki Ally Atiki. Fouss and Atiki in this point in their careers play next to the basket, and Noah does his damage from the perimeter. Noah will likely play mostly 4 at BYU, but he has guard skills due to his size until late in high school. With his size he could step in at the 5 if needed and can play the three.
BYU’s offense was stagnant at times last season because they didn’t have a floor spacer in the front court. Noah will space the floor and reduce the amount of double teams guards have on dribble handoffs and screens because opposing bigs will have to account for him when he pops out to the three-point line. BYU’s offense during Mark Pope’s first season was number one nationally in three-point shooting in part because they had fours like Yoeli Childs, Dalton Nixon, and Zac Seljaas that could space the floor. BYU hasn’t had a true stretch four the last two seasons and the offense has sputtered a bit at times as a result. Noah could really thrive in Mark Pope’s “pistol” offense and should help floor spacing.
With Noah onboard, I don’t expect BYU to add anymore scholarship players. Right now BYU has all 13 scholarships filled. Sources close to the program have also told me it’s unlikely (though maybe not 100% ruled out) that BYU adds another scholarship player. BYU has its 13 scholarships accounted for, so barring some reshuffling BYU’s roster is pretty much set. There are some potential walk-ons I’m keeping an eye on, however. Kim Aiken Jr was a real possibility to add, but there are some blockers that make it seem like BYU will add him now. Waterman and the recent addition of Jaxson Robinson give BYU two guys with multiple years left to play.
You can watch highlights of Noah below.
⚜️ Available Transfer ⚜️— Transfer Tapes (@TransferTapes) May 16, 2022
**3 Years of Eligibility Remaining**
8 PPG | 4 RPG | 43 FG% | 38 3P% | 75 FT%#transferportal #Detroit pic.twitter.com/KedLMaTibO