Jordan Crawford: More Than the Guy Who Dunked on LeBron
In the world of college basketball, Xavier's Jordan Crawford is known first and foremost for one thing: the guy who dunked on LeBron during a pick up game at King James' Skills Academy this past summer. The dunk created a hullabaloo when Nike confiscated the tapes. A kajillion dollar shoe corporation may have tried to censor Crawford's game, but the NBA is still well aware of what he can do, and by this NBA Draft, so will everyone else.
But beyond the dunk, what makes Jordan a sure fire first-rounder this NBA Draft?
"I think my biggest strength is the fact that I can shoot and go to the hole, so it kind of messes up defenses, and once I go to the rim and players attack me, I can dish it out," Crawford told me during the NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee.
The 6-4, 195 two guard declared after his sophomore season, but he's a little more seasoned than his class status implies. Big J.C. sat out one season after transferring from Indiana to Xavier. He wisely abandoned ship after the Kelvin Sampson saga disgraced and imploded the once proud program. I asked Crawford what he worked on the most while taking that mandatory year off.
"Hitting open shots, I did that a lot," Crawford responded. "I always could pass and always could dribble, so that was the main focus."
Some other attributes Crawford should work on at the next level are: his tendency to turn the ball over, his play becoming too selfish at times, partially because of his propensity to focus on isolation, and staying more consistently committed on the defensive end.
Of course, his downside is very minimal compared to his upside, as Crawford really brings a lot to the table. He's a natural scorer that can create his own shot, score in multiple ways, take over a game down the stretch, finish at the rim with either hand and utilize his great slashing ability to complement his tremendous range.
He showed all these qualities and more when the spotlight shone the brightest: March Madness. The fact that he can raise his game in accordance with the stakes helps his draft stock even more. Some people have compared his game to Michigan State's Kalin Lucas. I would disagree with that comparison wholeheartedly, but found Crawford's response to a reporter question about that quite interesting.
"I mean, it's cool for them to say Kalin Lucas because we're from the same place, so that's all right. But I don't really pattern my game off of nobody. Just doing me. I can't really say I play like anybody else," Jordan said.
The LeBron dunk got his name out there, but his stellar play in the 2010 tournament built up his reputation tremendously.
"People already knew I could play a little bit, so the Lebron tape got my name back out there after sitting out a year," Crawford said during the tourney.