Gilbert Arenas Says Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is “Lunch Meat” Compared to USC’s JuJu Watkins

Sharpshooting senior Iowa Hawkeyes point guard Caitlin Clark is widely considered the best player in women’s college basketball right now. But JuJu Watkins, a freshman shooting guard at USC, already looks like the Next Big Thing after upperclassmen like Clark, UConn point guard Paige Bueckers, and Stanford combo forward Cameron Brink move on to the next phase of their careers.

During a recent episode of their podcast Nightcap, cohosts Shannon Sharpe and Gilbert Arenas compared Clark and Watkins. Chad Johnson is also a cohost, but he was not on this episode.

Clark, despite having an extra year of NCAA eligibility, has announced that she will leave school and enter the WNBA draft this year. The Indiana Fever possess the top pick, and she is considered a shoo-in there.

Caitlin Clark
Guard Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes goes to the basket during the first half against guard Lauren Fields #23 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during their second round match-up in the 2024 NCAA…

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

“If JuJu was allowed to come out in the draft, [the Indiana] Fever will regret that they took Caitlin Clark No. 1. Caitlin is great. She’s not JuJu,” Arenas opined. “If they match up in the tournament, 1,000% JuJu’s going to pick her up full court.”

Should they win their next two matchups on Saturday, Iowa and USC would face each other in what would surely be a starry Final Four clash.

“You look at the way she’s built, and you look at the way Caitlin Clark is built, I mean she can take contact, she can play through contact,” Sharpe offered. “She has an adult body as [an] 18-year-old.”

“She’s super athletic. She will pick [Clark] up full court,” Arenas said. “They’re going to have to set a whole bunch of screens to get JuJu off her. And if she ever tries to guard JuJu, it’s lunch meat.”

To be fair, they do play two different positions, so it remains to be seen how much they’d actually square off against one another in a given matchup. Watkins is the Trojans’ best perimeter defender, however, so it’s possible she could get some run in a theoretical duel between their two clubs.

The Hawkeyes, the No. 1 seed in their region, will play the No. 5-seeded Colorado Buffaloes at MVP Arena in Albany on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET. The Trojans, who are the top seed in their own region, are also scheduled to play the No. 5-seeded Baylor at the Moda Center in Portland, normally home to the Trail Blazers, at 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

If both Iowa and USC win these matchups, and their Elite Eight matchups, they would battle in the Final Four for a spot in the Championship.