Chris Crawford, SR, G
Weight: 222 lbs
Birth Date: Sept. 30, 1992
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Last Season Stats: 10.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.5 SPG
Several players had breakout seasons last year for the Memphis Tigers, including senior guard Chris Crawford. He posted career highs in points, rebounds, three-point field goals made (71) and three-point percentage (39.9). A former four-star recruit, the scouting report on Crawford coming out of high school was that he could shoot from just about anywhere on the court.
He was streaky through his first two seasons. Crawford has great scoring ability, but had plenty of games where he would disappear. However, he finally showed the potential he has last year and proved that when he’s on, he can win a game by himself, particularly in the C-USA Tournament.
In three games in last season’s tournament, he averaged 25.7 PPG and set a tournament record with 19 three-point shots made. He was, undoubtedly, the clear-cut choice for the Tournament MVP.
What Crawford showed towards the end of last year is that if he makes that first shot, you’d better put a blanket over him because he’s in for a big night. He is yet another guard in the Memphis backcourt that can shoot from deep or put the ball on the floor and make a move to the basket, though, his best asset is his three-point shooting. C-USA recognized the critical role he played for Memphis off the bench by naming him Sixth Man of the Year.
Crawford is versatile, being able to play the one or two and play it well. In fact, the Tigers looked very good when he was running the point. Crawford is a good passer and ball-handler, and displayed both when playing at the point. It allowed fellow senior Joe Jackson to utilize his speed and natural-scoring ability much better.
Though he could play the position some this year, with a few added pieces to the puzzle, expect Crawford to mainly play shooting guard. He’s gotten better every year and with so many playmakers around him, his final year should be his best.
Head coach Josh Pastner‘s style is running and running and running some more. It’s a frantic pace that stresses creating turnovers, fast-break points and constant ball movement and pressure. The pace the Tigers play at often causes defenders to get confused and lose their man. This opens up the floor for shooters like Crawford to make them pay by drilling an uncontested three.
With more depth and talent in the backcourt than there has ever been in Crawford’s three seasons, he should have even more opportunities in 2013-14 to sink daggers into the hearts of opponents. Memphis will be a part of many close games this season with an upgrade in conferences to the AAC.
In close games, you need guys who can step up and take the big shot. It has to ease the nerves of Pastner and Memphis fans alike knowing they have a guy like “Clutch” Crawford lurking on the perimeter.