The Sierra Canyon basketball star says her prom photos are something she can "show my kids one day"
JuJu Watkins isn't your everyday high school student.
The Sierra Canyon basketball star is the top player in the country and headed off to USC to play basketball this fall. But Watkins tells PEOPLE that it was a "refreshing" change of pace to her busy schedule when she attended her school's prom on Saturday.
Watkins, 17, says the "really fun" experience is something she'll be able to remember proudly as a rite of passage. "I feel like it's something different for me. I mean, we're so locked in on basketball," she says of her and Sierra Canyon's star athletes.
"It's something that I'll be able to look back on and be proud that I went. I feel like it's so easy to be like, oh, I'm so busy and I can't go, but the fact that I was able to go and experience that with my friends, who I won't see for a long time because we're all going to college, was definitely something that I'll show my kids one day," she says.
The USC-bound athlete attended the dance with another high school basketball star, DJ Wagner. "He asked me on Facetime, actually. We started talking about prom and he asked me."
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Both Watkins and Wagner, 18, are "kind of shy," she says, so the longest part of the experience for them was taking prom photos for their parents.
"We just had to take one for the team, so we just stood there taking pictures in the same pose for a long time. Then our parents and everybody jumped in, which was cute."
Watkins wanted her prom look to be "something that's never really been done before," so she went with a chic grey leather dress.
"I mean, personally, I haven't seen a leather prom dress. It's something different and my own style. I feel like that's something that I definitely would wear, which was the whole inspiration, just making something different and pretty at the same time."
Inside the party, Watkins says she had "so much fun" dancing and celebrating with the Sierra Canyon seniors, including her pal Bronny James, the son of LeBron James who will join her on the USC basketball squad this fall.
"I did get to see Bronny. It was fun," she says, adding that the night was "honestly, kind of regular," which is different for the star athletes.
"I feel like everybody's experiencing the same thing, like getting dressed up. It's something that we don't normally do and everybody just gets together and gets to see how different everybody looks, so it's fun and funny at the same time."
The biggest hit on the dance floor was Sheck Wes's "Mo Bamba," inspired by the current Los Angeles Laker. "Everybody loves that song, still, three years later," she says.
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