Before last spring, John Crosby "really didn't know too much about Dayton." Then the former Poly star watched the Flyers beat Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford en route to the Elite Eight of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
"I've been a fan, but then I had a chance to get recruited and got to see it right there," said Crosby, who is currently doing a post-grad year at the New Hampton (N.H.) School. "I was excited to get down to campus. I was more sold on just seeing how I would fit in [and] what the guys were like. Once I [saw] that, the type of people they are, how they welcomed me, it was a no-brainer for me."
Crosby committed to Dayton on Monday, just a day after completing his official visit to the Atlantic 10 school. The 6-foot-3, 187-pound point guard was also recruited by Indiana, Maryland, Old Dominion and Rhode Island, among others.
Crosby, a consensus three-star prospect, said playing pickup with his future teammates was a major selling point. Nervousness wasn't an issue at all once he hit the court.
"I wasn't scared to do this or make a play," Crosby said. "They want to play fast. They want to play through their guards. It's a lot of spacing and a free-flowing offense. After that, it was just all making plays for your teammates. That's what I've been doing my whole life at Poly: getting into the lane, kicking the ball out, pushing it ahead. That fits me because that's how I play now – fast."
A second-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection, Crosby graduated from Poly last spring and decided to take a prep year despite claiming offers from a handful of mid- and high-major programs. He picked New Hampton – a traditional prep power – for his post-grad year and was looking forward to going to New Hampshire and earning more offers.
Then Maryland came calling in August, offering Crosby a scholarship to be part of the 2014 class.
"It really was a tough decision. It was hard to pass up," said Crosby, who took an official visit to College Park last month. "But the only thing that really helped me with the decision was the simple fact that me, my mom, coaches and my immediate circle already had a plan to come in [to prep school] and get better, get a year stronger and get away from home. I wanted to get out there and see for myself what I really wanted to do.
"Maryland came in after that. It was kind of hard to turn down the whole process I was already on to. … It still would've been a great opportunity. It's a great program close to home, but it just so happened that I was going to New Hampton. Really, you go to Maryland, playing in the Big Ten at home, I would've had my family down to the games. But that was a decision I made to come to New Hampton. And now I'm going to be a Flyer."
Crosby said Dayton's campus compared favorably with Maryland, North Carolina State and other bigger schools he's visited. Academically, Dayton offered Crosby – who wants to major in chemical engineering – everything he wanted in a school.
"They have a 100 percent graduation rate for student-athletes that study engineering," Crosby said. "That caught my attention a lot. That was big for me. I wanted to be comfortable with the basketball situation, but that alone won me and my mother over. It's going to be tough, but they're going to get me through it. Knowing that I can do what I really want to do and they'll support me, that means everything to me. [Other coaches said], 'You might want to major in sports management. It's going to be tough [to major in engineering].' Me going to Dayton, I get to still chase my dream."