By Joe Henricksen

Crawford, Naperville Central keep opening eyes

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By Joe Henricksen

Any subscriber of the City/Suburban Hoops Report publication already is aware of how big of a fan the Hoops Report is of Naperville Central junior Drew Crawford, who remains one of the most overlooked prospects in the Class of 2009. Crawford was featured in the most recent issue as he has blossomed into a long, versatile 6-5 perimeter threat.

And also overlooked is the season Naperville Central has put together. With Wheaton North the preseason favorite and perennial power West Aurora expected to challenge for the DuPage Valley Conference title, it's been Naperville Central that has stolen the spotlight. In an atmosphere that resembled a regional or sectional championship game, Naperville Central beat Wheaton North on the road Wednesday night to earn a share of the DVC title and pick up its 19th win of the season. The Redhawks have now won 11 of 13, including two wins over Wheaton North and beating West Aurora. The bad news? Naperville Central will likely have turn right around and beat Wheaton North a third time next week in a regional championship game.

Naperville Central is extremely limited but coach Pete Kramer has gotten just about everything he possibly can out of this team, while Crawford continues to make those around him better. Crawford is asked to do so much for the Redhawks, while opponents -- like Wheaton North did on Wednesday night -- throw two defenders his way. Crawford is the primary ballhandler and scorer, yet gets all his points mostly within the structure of the offense. His confidence has grown, his feel for the game has improved and his versatility stands out. Plus, he's a clutch player. He's hit four buzzer-beaters this season that have either tied or won games for Naperville Central.

Crawford will surely be a player that will finally burst upon the scene this offseason during the AAU tournaments and summer play. Right now the Hoops Report believes he is clearly one of the top 20 prospects in the junior class.

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Good to see you do know that they play basketball outside of the Public League, and Top 20 polls. I have witnessed a buzz growing all year heading in to the East Aurora 4A sectional. Although the individual talent may not be as strong as in other parts of the state, the depth of the teams involved is as good as anywhere. First round match ups in Regionals such as East Aurora/Bartlett and Willowbrook/Nequa Valley prove this out. With the students and fans alike getting excited East Aurora's sectional should be a treat for any High School Basketball fan. Thanks for the DVC love. Looking forward to March.

I had the opportunity to watch him play last summer, and I agree with everything you've said about this young gifted player.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on February 20, 2008 10:31 PM.

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