Know the Prospect: Jae Crowder

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15: Jae Crowder #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles shoots the ball over Craig Cusick #2 of the Brigham Young Cougars during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It's Friday, Friday, look at prospects on Friday. I tried. What's good P&T? It's Ross Bernhardt back to cap off another week of Know the Prospect. So, we have selectively looked at guards in the first four KTPs, but now we will tread into the world of the big men. The next few prospects will be men of a larger variety, starting with another chap from Marquette who is a little Kenneth Faried-esque. Sort of.

But before we get to him, I'm still all jacked up from the Scripps National Spelling Bee (if you couldn't tell from my domination/over-saturation of the thread last night). Even though my dude Gifton and ma gurl Stuti fell short, I have bee fever. I also don't think it's any coincidence that each of the last two prospects have played for a coach named "Buzz" Williams either. Alright, enough with that stuff On to J-A-E C-R-O-W-D-E-R after the J-U-M-P.

Can I have the country of origin? Jae Crowder is a native of Villa Rice in Georgia. Not the country, the state. Like teammate Darius Johnson-Odom, played at a junior college before heading to Marquette. First, he helped South Georgia Tech to their first ever postseason appearance while averaging 17 and 10 and earning Georgia Junior College POY. Then, he moved on to Howard College where his team won the national title and Crowder won NJCAA POY. Impressive stuff indeed, especially considering moving schools. Last year, Crowder was named the Big East POY after improving immensely between his junior and senior seasons. Crowder earned several accolades in addition to that and proved that he is one of the more dynamic players in the country, even if he doesn't have a "position".

The Rundown

Measurements: Height (w/o shoes) - 6'3.75; (w shoes) - 6'5.5"; Weight - 242 lb; Wingspan - 6'8.5"; Max Vert - 32.3"; Lane Agility - 10.75

Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 43 on Draft Express, 57 on Pro Basketball Draft, Mysteriously absent at NBADraft.net

Actual Draft Profiles/Stats: Draft Express, Stat Sheet, Marquette Team Profile

Amateur Take - Offense: Crowder is incredibly versatile on offense. He has the strength and length to play inside. He also has the quickness and enough distance on his shot to be comfortable on the perimeter. He can get out on the fast break. He can rebound on the offensive end. Crowder possesses an extremely diverse skill set that will allow him to do a lot of things for a team on offense. He's efficient with his shooting (49.2% from the field in his two years) and can knock down the occasional three pointer (35% in two seasons). His free throw shooting was vastly improved (73.5% up from 61.6%) and that's more impressive considering he attempted nearly 40 more free throws.

Crowder isn't much of a shot-creater in his own right, but he works great off the ball. He is incredibly instinctive, and makes up for his lack of a one-on-one game with a high basketball IQ. He just knows where to be and where to position himself that will get him easy baskets. He was able to average 17.5 points a game last season, so he knows how to get buckets. Does a player that knows how to work best off the ball sound like something we need?

Amateur Take - Defense: Crowder is most valuable to a team on the defensive side of the ball. Crowder can basically guard all five positions (probably not center in the NBA, but definitely 1-4). Like DJO, he has an incredibly high motor and a great knack for the ball. He plays the passing lanes like a pro, and he averaged 2.5 per game (10th in the nation). He is a terrific rebounder (6.4 per game) and has the size/strength to rebound at whatever position you put him on the court. That huge wingspan of his helps him force the issue on defense, and the guy is just a difference maker on that end.

From the Scouts: Jonathan Givony gives a more detailed take on Crowder's offensive capabilities in the DE article linked above:

Like all of those Marquette forwards that came before him, Crowder is a pretty unconventional player in terms of his style of play. With a ripped frame more reminiscent of a NFL tight end than a NBA small forward prospect, Crowder is not a particularly fluid or explosive player, relying more on strength, smarts, timing and determination to get the job done, rather than pure talent.

Crowder gets most of his offense by working off the ball, be it spotting up from the 3-point line, diving to the rim to position himself for drop-off passes from his guards, running the floor in transition, posting up, or through his work on the offensive glass.

He's extremely intelligent operating off the ball, having a knack for moving to the right spot to catch and finish in a simple and effective manner, despite rarely playing above the rim. He uses the glass nicely and has terrific touch around the basket, which helps explain how he's able to convert 61% of his attempts inside the arc even though he is usually at a distinct size disadvantage. Although he's not a high flyer, he rarely misses high percentage looks

The Clyde Factor: I think Clyde could have a lot of fun with Jae. I could see "Jee", "Jaer", "Jair Jurrjens", stuff like that. Perhaps a "Crowdsurf" for the last name, and we would see plenty of "crowd" puns if he made a great play or literally dove into the crowd.

Knick Knacks (back by popular demand):

  • Nice Interview with Crowder by Ed Isaacson over at NBA Draft Blog.
  • I really want to know if Jae is short (or long?) for anything, but I couldn't find anything.
  • Jae is one of seven children.
  • His hair would fill the gaping void left by our beloved Renaldo Balkman.
  • He's Hoops World's top under the radar senior, and they think he will rise into the first round when all is said and done.

Let's Get Reel:

Jae Crowder Marquette Scouting Report Draft 2012 (via Hoop mixtapez)

Jae Crowder Talks About Biggest Fear (via muathletics)

NBA Pre-Draft Training: Jae Crowder at Athletes Edge (via NickhicksAE)

Jae Crowder- "It's Over" (via Edson12)

What We Learned:

  • Is there any way to achieve his physical fitness and physique without actually putting in the work? If so, sign me up for that.
  • This guy wants it, want to do whatever it takes to get it, and is driven by the fear that he won't get it. Get it?
  • I really to think his outside game will surprise some people. He looks confident from the perimeter, and his form isn't that bad.
  • His athleticism is going to help him a ton as far as the transition to the NBA goes.
  • Dude has some swag. That "game over" was like a mic drop. Very cool, and very ballsy.

In conclusion:

Crowder would obviously be an ideal fit in New York. His versatility could help Woodson play with some lineups and it would be amazing to see him, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert on the court at the same time. His acceptance of the role player... role and his ability to work off the ball would also be incredible assets. Good lord, opposing teams might not even see the rim. But unless the 47 teams picking ahead of the Knicks are complete morons or we somehow trade up, we won't see Jae Crowder in a New York Knicks uniform. And that is a true shame. I really like this guy.

What do you guys think?

Ross Bernhardt (viva_morrison). You can find me on the web writing over at CHARGED.fm or on Twitter @ross_bernhardt.

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