Missing an entire season with an injury can be tough for a young player, especially when it's a career-threatening one. That was the case for 2015 Gonzaga College (D.C.) point guard Bryant Crawford, who missed his freshman year of high school ball as a result of a fractured tibia suffered during a scrimmage before the season began.
The fracture, which required surgery, was a nasty break that took six months of rehab before the 6-foot-2, 170-pound floor general could get back on the court. After the high school season concluded, Crawford suited up for Team Takeover throughout the summer, and started to hone the skills he’d need as a sophomore - especially since Gonzaga starting point guard Nate Britt had transferred to Oak Hill.
Coming into the fall, Crawford knew what his role would be during the first go-around through the always tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
“I’m going to try and look for my teammates first, look for my shots second, and try to lead my team to victories,” Crawford said Friday night. “My main thing is to get my teammates involved, get them points and facilitate the floor.”
Crawford did all that and more during Gonzaga’s 78-66 victory over Archbishop Molloy (N.Y.), scoring 11 points, dropping at least seven assists and hitting the glass hard. A number of those assists were of the no-look variety, something Purple Eagles coach Steve Turner doesn’t want to phase out of Crawford’s game.
“Sometimes our guys aren’t ready for the no-look, our guys aren’t ready for those passes sometimes,” chuckled Turner on Friday. “It’s a part of his game, you don’t want to take that away from him, but as he grows he’ll be making those plays with more regularity and the guys will be ready for them as well.”
The talented sophomore was among the top 44 underclassmen in the country invited to the USA Developmental National Team Mini-Camp this fall in Colorado Springs, giving Crawford an introduction to USA Basketball.
On the court, Crawford knows he has to be more vocal in leading his team, but many teams have already taken notice of guard’s potential. So far, UConn, SMU, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Indiana and Penn State have all extended offers, with two of those schools receive visits throughout the past few months.
“I visited Penn State and Indiana,” Crawford said. “Indiana went well. I was there for Hoosier Hysteria. It wasrealfun, the gym was packed, lots of noise. Penn State – the football game was really packed, I liked their noise too and their fan support.”
Recent interest has come from Virginia Tech, Maryland and Virginia, with the Terps making an effort to host Crawford on campus.
“I forget which Maryland coach was at the game against Paul VI the other night,” Crawford said. “He said he wants me to get on campus as soon as possible.”
Turner appreciates what his highly touted guard is capable of, and feels this is just the beginning of another high-major talent coming through Gonzaga.
“He really sees the floor, plays a couple plays ahead. It’s incredible, especially for his age and since he was hurt last year, this is his first season of playing high school basketball," Turner said. "Bryant is really starting to show everyone what he’s capable of doing.”