- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In Student Athlete of the Week
Brandon Crawford's 6' 7" athletic frame has made him one of the best players in the City Section. He averages 13.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, and he comes from a family of college graduates. Photo by Jason Lewis
Article originally published by Our Weekly. www.ourweekly.com
By Jason Lewis
Sports, like many aspects of life, is not about where a person was at in the past, but more about where that person is going in the future. For Washington Prep High School basketball player Brandon Crawford, that will be Sampson University in Redding, about 160 miles north of Sacramento, next fall on an athletic scholarship.
Standing at 6' 7", and with the ability to play pretty much every position on the court, Crawford has developed into one of the best players in the Los Angeles City Section, and he is the driving force behind Washington Prep's run to the playoffs. Playing mostly power forward and center, he is averaging 13.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He has two triple doubles this season, and twice he has tied the school record with 14 blocked shots in one game.
From where he was a few years ago, Crawford is riding high right now.
"It feels really great," Crawford said. "I'm really grateful. I stayed focused and I never gave up on myself."
Crawford could have faded away after some rocky times. He started at King Drew Medical Magnet High School, but he was unable to play his freshman season because he was academically ineligible. He was able to play his sophomore year, but the team finished 3-22 that season.
During that time it was not looking too good for Crawford, athletically or academically, but with strong support from his mother and sister, he was able to turn it all around. A change of scenery was needed, so he transferred to Washington Prep during his junior year, which meant that he was unable to play for the team that year.
Even though he had to sit out the basketball season, the move to Washington Prep was just what Crawford needed.
"His grades did a complete 180," said Brandi Goodman, Crawford's mother. "I was having a hard time trying to figure out why my son was not doing well. I basically told him that he needed to talk to his teachers. I'm a single mother, so I can't be up there to talk to the teachers. But with me working in the school district, I can see it from both ends."
Goodman is extremely proud of her son's dramatic turnaround. Most of the members of her family graduated from college, and she earned her degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
"It's a really big deal for us to make sure that he graduated," Goodman said. "Most of us are teachers, principals, or social workers. So he does come from a background of education."
As a single mother, Goodman recognized that she needed to keep her son around positive male role models, so she had him get a part-time job at the local barbershop where he would get his haircut. Crawford started this job when he was only eight years old, and he kept it all the way through last summer.
Being around the right people has molded Crawford into the young man that he is today. On the basketball court, Goodman admits that she does not know much about the sport, but she found the right people who did, and they helped develop him into a great player who has a bright career when he makes it to the next level.
"He can play the three spot in college," said Nolan Johnson, Washington Prep's Head Coach. "He shoots the ball well, and he has great form. But right now in high school, he plays with his back to the basket, because that's what's needed for the team. But Brandon can move out to the perimeter, and he handles and shoots the ball well. He can play four spots on the floor, but on this team he needs to play on the block.
"He's going to be a much better player in college than in high school," Johnson continued. "His better days are ahead of him because he's still a developing player. Some guys are good high school players, but then they dip a little bit in college because of the talent. But Brandon already has all of the physical tools. It's just building on the skill level that he already has. Once he gets stronger, and he puts on another 20 pounds, I see him as a guy who can make some money."
Crawford is very excited about his future at Sampson University.
"I know that right now I'm not at my peak yet," Crawford said. "I know that there, they can help me develop my game and I'll become more of the player that I want to be."
Crawford's academic turnaround will help him greatly when he gets to Sampson University, and his improved time management skills will allow him to balance his time on the court with his time in the classroom. He plans to major in business management.
"I want to own my own franchises," Crawford said. "Probably like fast-food restaurants. Kind of like Magic Johnson."
Crawford has a shot to go all the way to the NBA, and with a college degree, he will be able to have a great career in which ever field that he chooses after his playing days are over.