Player Spotlight: Northwestern G Drew Crawford
The Wildcats sit at 5-11 in Big Ten play, tied for the worst record in the conference along with the Nittany Lions. Northwestern has not won a game since defeating Minnesota by one point back on February 1st.
During their current seven-game losing streak, the Wildcats are averaging only 55 points per game. Redshirt senior Drew Crawford has been the only consistent Northwestern starter over the last month and a half, although, he too has had his mishaps.
Crawford leads the Wildcats in points, averaging 15.5 per game, and rebounds, averaging 6.5 per game. On most nights, the redshirt senior takes on the majority of the point scoring responsibilities, often contributing a quarter or more to Northwestern’s final tally.
However, Crawford has gone missing a few times this year. He went two of 10 from the floor
two weekends ago, and was only able to score two points against Minnesota back on February 16th.
Without high-levels of production from Crawford, the Wildcats have a difficult time even breaking the 50-point mark.
Crawford is an Illinois native, growing up in a suburb just outside the Chicago area. He is the son of long-time NBA referee Dan Crawford.
As a senior at Naperville Central High School, Crawford was a first-team, all-state selection by the Chicago Sun-Times. He averaged the 24 points per game to go along with nine rebounds and was nominated for the McDonald’s All-America game.
Crawford decided he wanted to stay close to home and accepted a scholarship for basketball from Northwestern. He was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the media in his first year, averaging 10.7 points per game in conference play.
The local boy continued to have success throughout his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging double-digit point totals and was named to the third-team All-Big Ten squad.
Going into his senior year, Crawford was a preseason candidate for the Senior CLASS award, which is presented to an “outstanding” senior in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball. However, due a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Crawford was forced to miss a majority of the season, and was granted a medical redshirt.
There was much speculation before the 2013-2014 season if Crawford was going to transfer to another school that would give him a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Crawford could
have taken advantage of the NCAA rule for fifth-year graduate students and played right away at a school of his choosing.
The redshirt senior decided to stick with the Wildcats, however, citing that his heart belonged to Northwestern and had planned on making his last season at Northwestern a great one.
Unfortunately for Crawford, the hopes of a great season did not go according to plan. Crawford and the Wildcats will once again watch the NCAA Tournament from home.
Thursday’s game against Penn State will be the last game Crawford will play in the Welsh-Ryan Arena, and it will certainly be emotional. Crawford has spent the last five years of his life in Evanston, and will try desperately to get one more home win in a Wildcat uniform.
The Nittany Lions will have to try and contain a fired-up Crawford. If they are able to do that, they will have a solid chance of getting out of Evanston with their sixth conference win.
Penn State takes on Crawford and Northwestern this Thursday, at 7:00 p.m.
Andy Madore is a sophomore majoring broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)