As Drew Crawford goes, so goes Northwestern

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drew_crawford

Retaining Drew Crawford was priority number one for Chris Collins when he began his new regime at Northwestern. You may have been wondering why Northwestern forward Drew Crawford struggled so much during his senior season. His game was off because he wasn’t healthy. Drew Crawford underwent surgery on his right shoulder after being diagnosed with having a torn labrum. He was granted a medical hardship waiver.

And the presence of Drew Crawford has made a huge impact on the 2013-14 Northwestern basketball season. Last week he was named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the United States Basketball Writers Association

drew-crawford

Given a fifth year of eligibility, Crawford took awhile to warm up this season, having an awful performance against Michigan State on January 15th. However, entering today’s loss at home to Nebraska, Crawford was averaging 20.6 points and 6.6 rebounds over his last five, in which NU went 4-1. Drew Crawford was the main reason NU swept Wisconsin and Minnesota, scoring 30 in Madison and 17 in Minneapolis while shooting 66.7 percent from the field. He’s the team’s leading scorer and rebounder on a unit that has just two guys averaging double figures.

Today though, he was off, finishing with 13 points but shooting just 4-13 from the field. He started off 0-4 from the field, but hit two big threes late in the second half that brought NU to tie it at 44. His ups and downs are very indicative of the team’s ups and downs.   Drew Crawford said winning the national award did not create any distraction or sense of complacency.

“You got to move on the next game, it’s not like an award carries through the rest of the season. I had it out of my head, it wasn’t anything from dwelling on that,” Crawford said.

 

A third-team All-Big Ten selection two years ago, he ranks 4th in school history in scoring. He’s just 16 career points away from Evan Eschmeyer who was honored today at Welsh-Ryan. The upset loss to Nebrasketball was absolutely crushing to NU’s NIT hopes. After going 5-2 in their last seven, and reaching .500 in conference, there was starting to be some buzz about NU basketball. There was a very big and very loud crowd at Welsh-Ryan today.

“It’s been awesome, the school’s been so supportive of us, the alumni, the student body, everybody and it feels great to come to a game and see it packed like that,” Drew said.

“It’s a tough loss, but we’ll be confident moving forward and I hope they stay with us.”

Nebraska Coach Tim Miles had a big compliment for Drew Crawford today, and showed his respect for Bill Carmody. In all the hoopla that’s surrounded NU hoops lately, people have really forgotten all the things that Carmody accomplished in Evanston.

“Bill might be here if Crawford played last year, in my eyes,” Miles said.

aul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent analyst on news talk radio; with regular segments on ESPN,NBCCBS and Fox. A former NBC Chicago and Washington Times writer, he’s also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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