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December 8, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Each December, Rivals.com makes a swing through the Washington, D.C., area to check on the talent there. Friday's trip started with opening-day action at the Gonzaga DC Classic on the campus of Gonzaga College High. Future Villanova teammates Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart had a solid day, while Ohio State-bound shooting guard Kameron Williams lit it up and four-star sophomore Bryant Crawford proved why he's one of the area's next high-level players.
Crawford ready to step up
During the summer, Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga lost starting point guard Nate Britt when the North Carolina signee transferred to Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill. But coach Steve Turner never worried about who would take over because he knew that four-star point guard Bryant Crawford was waiting in the wings.
Friday, the 6-foot-2 sophomore showed that Turner's squad is in very good hands. A competitor who doesn't mind getting physical, Crawford is more of a pure, pass-first point guard who is equally tough on the defensive end. He didn't put up huge points on Friday, but he controlled the pace on both ends of the floor.
"I started off slow, and then after halftime I picked it up," Crawford said. "It was just my team. They got me going and helped to get me shots."
His teammates may have helped him get some open looks on Friday, but Crawford got them plenty of open looks himself. That's the way he likes to play.
"I look for my teammates first and my shot second," Crawford said. "I just try to go out and lead my team to a victory."
Even though he's not even halfway through his sophomore year, Crawford is attracting heavy attention from college programs. He said he has offers from Connecticut, SMU, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Indiana, while Virginia Tech, Virginia and Maryland are keeping close tabs.
Crawford said he's wide open and nowhere near making a decision. However, he took an October visit to Bloomington and said the Hoosiers' efforts with him and others in the D.C. area are getting noticed, especially with the work of assistant coach Kenny Johnson.
"Indiana went well," Crawford said. "I went for Hoosier Hysteria, and that was really fun. The gym was packed.
"I never even thought about IU growing up. Me and Coach Johnson have a great relationship from when he tried to recruit me to Paul VI for high school. Then, when he was at Towson, he recruited me, and now that he's at Indiana he's recruited me there and has me thinking about them."
Villanova-bound duo has good day
Jay Wright and Villanova signed a pair of D.C.-area prospects from the class of 2013 in the early signing period. Friday, in front of associate head coach Billy Lange, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart had big games.
A burly, 6-foot-6 combo forward, Jenkins was hot from all over the floor for Gonzaga. He hit jumpers from the wing, scored in deep by using his body to bully defenders in his way and even drilled a halfcourt buzzer beater. By the time he was done, he'd put together a day-high 31-point performance while helping lead Gonzaga to a win.
Immediately before Jenkins took the floor, Hart was busy leading Sidwell Friends to a win over Germantown Academy from the Philadelphia area. At 6-foot-5, Hart is a strong kid who plays with toughness and efficiency. He's not one of those wings who handles the ball a ton, and because of a lack of size his team really likes to use him in the mid to high post. He's an excellent passer, makes good decisions, defends and is a strong midrange jump shooter who finished with 27 points.
Both of the four-stars will need to make adjustments as they move to the Big East. Jenkins will hit the weight room and tone his body, while Hart will work to improve his ball handling. The important thing is that they are both smart players with toughness who will be willing to do the little things early while they earn playing time.
More notes from the DC Classic
Ohio State has landed a prolific jump shooter in Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph shooting guard Kameron Williams. The skinny, 6-foot-2 senior has a quick release when he catches curling off of screens and is equally dangerous attacking off the dribble and pulling up for jumpers from 12 to 20 feet. His offense should translate to the Big Ten and his skill level is high, but he will need to get stronger before hitting the physical conference.
Up next at Mount St. Joseph is 6-foot-3 shooting guard Phil Booth. The junior currently ranks No. 84 nationally in the class of 2014. With a solid frame and a great set of skills, Booth is a classic two-guard. He shoots with range, makes plays off the dribble and is always under control. There's some Wayne Ellington to his game, and he counts Maryland, Indiana, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, West Virginia, SMU and many others as those involved with his recruitment.
Four-star junior center Andre Walker of the Bullis School is a mobile big man who runs the court extremely well. He's pretty quick off the floor and will block shots while doing a decent job on the glass. Walker gets his points around the rim off of dumpdowns and offensive rebounds, and he has plenty of potential. Moving ahead, he's got to get stronger and he's got to develop better low-post footwork and get better balance. Right now, opponents can push him all over in the post and it limits his productivity.
The headliner for Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic is junior shooting guard Shep Garner. The 6-foot-1 Garner didn't have his best day, but two of his teammates showed promise. Junior Rashann London is an athletic, 6-foot-2 combo guard who attacks off the dribble and has terrific potential on the defensive end. Sophomore point guard Traci Carter is a long-armed 6-footer who can make shots and is quick with the ball.