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.