After a solid freshman season at Indiana alongside the likes of Eric Gordon
and D.J. White
, in the wake of the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal, swingman Jordan Crawford
transferred to Xavier. This season, the 21-year-old sophomore has emerged as the premier perimeter scorer in the Atlantic 10, known for hitting clutch jumpers and creating his own shot at will. With averages of 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists and a 30-point (on 25 field goal attempts), six-rebound, and 4-assist performance at Wake Forest on his resume, Crawford is distinguishing himself as one of the most potent scorers in the country, forcing scouts to taking notice.
Standing at 64 with just a decent frame, Crawford does not exactly look the part of a cant-miss collegiate wing prospect. He does have nice length, however, and, though his explosiveness set online communities abuzz when he posterized LeBron James
in a pickup-up game this summer, he will be just an above average athlete at the next level. Similarly, while his first step and agility are impressive, they do not stand out amongst the crowd when comparing him with your average shot-creating NBA shooting guard.
On the offensive end, Crawford has improved significantly since his time at Indiana and is one of the better overall scorers in the country. Attempting almost 16 field goals per game and responsible for almost a quarter of Xaviers possessions, Crawford does most of his damage in isolation situations, taking his man off of the dribble and creating his own offense. As a slasher, Crawford utilizes his quick first step and impressive body control to get to the basket. He is not a particularly adept finisher, particularly when he drives left, as evidenced by the pedestrian percentages
he shoots from 2-point range.
His lack of strength certainly hurts him here, but he also does not show the greatest touch around the basket. Furthermore, like most young scoring guards, he could definitely improve his ball-handling skills. His sizable role as principle scorer and distributor does him no favors, either, in terms of his overall effectiveness around the basket and at this stage he forces the issue far too often. Regardless, improving his decision-making and shot selection will be essential for him to reach the next level.
Crawford has developed into a proficient shooter both from beyond the arc and from mid-range. He still has inconsistent shooting mechanics, which vary from smooth and fluid to hitched and awkward. He is at his most fluid while spotting up from beyond the arc, but he is gradually becoming a more proficient catch-and-shoot player, aided by his ability to move without the ball and find open spots on the court.
His shot selection needs some significant work, as he takes far too many contested 30-foot jump shots, but his sizeable role in the Xavier offense surely doesnt help matters and despite these criticisms, he is shooting almost 39% from beyond the arc. Continuing to improve as a shooter, however, is essential regarding his future at the next level, since he likely wont be able to make a living as a slasher quite as much as he does in the A-10. From mid-range, he has developed a variety of pull-ups and floaters that ensure that he will be able to create a shot (for better or worse) on nearly every offensive possession.
On the defensive end, Crawford is solid, though unspectacular. He gambles quite a bit, both in terms of his man-to-man defense and on shot-fakes closer to the basket. Similarly, he does not show consistent focus, not closing out nearly as often as one would like to see. Given Crawfords incredibly taxing role on the offensive end of the floor, his average defensive fundamentals are somewhat understandable, though certainly not excusable. Scouts will likely want to see increased intensity and focus on defense when considering his role at the next level, as his lack of size and strength will do him no favors on this end.
Crawford is a bit older than your typical sophomore at age 21, and that probably doesnt help his case as an NBA prospect. There is no denying the fact that he is an adept scorer, one of the NCAAs best, but scouts will be watching to see whether or not he can transition into a roleplayer at the next level, with a fraction of the possessions at his disposal. There are question marks pertaining to Crawfords ball-dominant style and unselfishness--is he merely playing the way his team, which lost three of its top scorers last year and is under the leadership of a rookie coach, needs him to play? Regardless, from what were hearing it seems like that Crawford will seriously consider testing the NBA draft waters this spring. In the meantime, however, he has a lot of work to both raise his draft stock and lead his team back to the NCAA Tournament.