NCAA BK

Crawford out to prove he's more than 'The Dunk'

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 
For better or for worse, Jordan Crawford will always be known for The Dunk. There's just no getting around it.
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It got all that hype last month when word leaked out that Crawford put one down on LeBron James. It was one that was apparently so embarrassing to The King's rep that a Nike official actually confiscated the tape from a couple of photographers. "It was good to get the exposure from it," said the Xavier guard. "But I want people to realize how good of a player I am." That may take a little longer than the two or three seconds it took Crawford to drive down the lane and explode over 'Bron out in Akron, but it will happen this season when he is set to become the go-to guy for a Xavier program that has established itself as among the nation's elite over the last few years. Crawford isn't just some guy whose 15 minutes (well, probably more like a week or so) of fame has come and gone. He can play. "That gave him credit around the country," said Xavier first-year head coach Chris Mack. "But that was one play. Jordan knows he's better than one play." "He's going to be our primary scorer," Mack had no problem admitting. "He's ultra-talented and is going to be a difference-maker. There's no question about it." The younger brother of former Kentucky standout Joe Crawford never truly got a chance to show it during a freshman season at Indiana in which he spent the majority of the time in the shadow of guard Eric Gordon and big man D.J. White — and also had to deal with the mess involving former Hoosiers coach Kelvin Sampson. There were spurts — such as the 20-point performance against his older brother and the Wildcats — and going for a career-high 21 in a victory against Northwestern in February. But for the most part, he was just someone who gave the Hoosiers a boost off the bench.
"When I was going through it, it really wasn't that bad," Crawford said of the season-long soap opera that was IU basketball. "We were still in contention to win the Big Ten. But right after the season, when everyone left, that's when it got hard." Crawford, who averaged 9.7 points his freshman campaign in Bloomington, was actually the Last Man Standing as far as scholarship players remaining on the roster for new IU coach Tom Crean before he decided that transferring to Xavier was a more viable option. "He wanted me to stay," Crawford said of Crean. "But I just felt it was best for me to leave." What was also lost in Crawford's appearance in Akron about a month or so ago was that he showed himself particularly well among many of the elite college players who were invited to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy. In fact, several NBA scouts in attendance told FOXSports.com that Crawford played as well as anyone in a group that included potential lottery picks Willie Warren, Al-Farouq Aminu, Cole Aldrich and Devin Ebanks. "He has a chance to become a first-round pick, maybe even someone that can get into the lottery because of his size and athleticism," one scout said. "I just want people to realize how good of a player I am," Crawford said. "I want to prove to people I'm the best guard in the country." With the departure of Derrick Brown a year early to the NBA and the loss of wings B.J. Raymond and C.J. Anderson, the Musketeers are in need of someone to step in and make sure that the program doesn't take a dip. Crawford is all for making certain Xavier's status doesn't alter, but he'd like to change his image in the process. "The funniest part is that anyone who knows me knows I don't dunk a lot," Crawford said.
Tagged: Kansas, Kentucky, Xavier, Oklahoma, Brown, Northwestern, Indiana, Akron, West Virginia, Wake Forest

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