Not a lot of people make the trip from the metropolitan centers of the East Coast to the isolation that sometimes comes with West Coast college basketball.

Kylee Watson has heard that a lot since the 6-foot-3 senior forward for Mainland committed to play at Oregon.

“Ironically, it was the place that felt the most like home even though it was the farthest away,” Watson said last week. “The whole family culture they have, not just through the basketball program but with athletics and the school in general, was just incredible.”

That’s part of the reason why Watson will make the cross-country trip to join the Ducks – ranked third in the latest Associated Press Top 25 thanks to senior guard Sabrina Ionescu -- starting next season.

“When you see the women’s attendance has topped the men’s for the past few years, when you see what Sabrina has brought to the program, it’s an incredible feeling,” Watson said of Ionescu, the NCAA all-time leader in career triple-doubles and the Pac-12 Conference all-time leader in assists. “I realized I was already invested in there because, when they lost I felt so bad about it. That’s how they made me feel when I visited there.”

Watson (right) goes up for a shot against Gloucester Catholic's Kaitlyn Racobaldo.
Watson (right) goes up for a shot against Gloucester Catholic's Kaitlyn Racobaldo.

In choosing Oregon, Watson bypassed UCLA and Notre Dame among others.

The travel aspect won’t bother Watson, who has traveled extensively as part of the Philadelphia Belles’ AAU program.

“That prepared me in a lot of ways,” she said. “Also, having been a part of USA Basketball helped me become independent in a lot of ways.”