By Paul M. Banks
On Thursday night, Northwestern earned their 18th victory of the season, thereby establishing a new school record. In that game small forward Drew Crawford scored just two points on 1-4 shooting. but don’t let that number fool you. Like Cleveland Indians Manager Lou Brown said to Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in “Major League”, “you’re one of the guys that got us here.
Crawford, NU’s third leading scorer, is one of just four freshmen in BCS conferences this year who averages at least 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and1.5 assists per game. With 35 points on December 13th, he broke the NU freshman record for single game points. Drew hit 8 threes in that game, one shy of Craig Moore’s school record set in 2008. The performance also netted Drew the Big 10 Player of the week award, making the first NU rookie ever to do so. And only one freshman in the country has scored more than Crawford’s 35 in a game this season.
“You don’t ever have to keep Drew humble, a buddy of mine came up with a word that describes Drew 100%: grounded. It’s scary how grounded he is. I played high school basketball and if had a good game I’d run to grab the newspaper the next day, with Drew I asked him on a couple occasions- did you read the newspaper? And you’re not interested in grabbing the newspaper and reading about yourself?” Crawford, the elder said. Dan admitted that when he played basketball, he would head straight for the newspaper after any and every time he had a big game. He gives his spouse the credit for where Drew gets his grounded demeanor. “I’ll say it comes from my wife, I’ll give her credit for that,” Dan said
In Drew’s breakout game, NU set a new Big Ten record for three-point attempts and makes in a single game. This year, they lead the conference and are 5th nationally in 3-pt field goals attempted and made.
Drew articulated why he choose Northwestern out of the multitude of schools that recruited him. “It came down to Wake Forest, Oklahoma State and DePaul, but I wanted to come here. I knew this program has been on the uprise for a couple years and I really wanted to be a part of that, and I knew I would be able to contribute early on; which is big for me too,” he said.
I also asked him what part of his game gives him the most confidence.
“Toughness. You got to have toughness on the court because if you rebound and play defense- other things tend to come…I kind of forget about being a freshman when I’m on the court, I know I’m capable of playing with all these guys so being a freshman doesn’t factor into it too much for me,” he stated.
When he is a sophomore next year, senior Kevin Coble will returns from his medical red-shirt season. The Cats leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago, (the team’s best player) will reclaim his natural three position from Crawford, and Drew will likely slide over to the two; replacing the soon to be departing Jeremy Nash.
The Wildcats best player this season, John Shurna, will be a junior and again starts at the four, while seniors Luka Mirkavic and Juice Thompson complete the 2010-11 starting five. Drew will play a key role next season, and his Coach Bill Carmody has big plans on how to accelerate his development.
“I’d like to see him go to the basket a little more..in the springtime we can work on getting him to post up, and find other ways for him to score. He’s got that long body with long arms. And he’s a freshman so maybe he is getting worn out a bit,” Carmody said following the team’s 74-57 home win over lowly Iowa.
Basically, a team that set the school record for wins will lose just one starter (but regain their best player) for next season. The future truly does look bright.