Jae Crowder: Path to the NBA, 6/21

One day at time.

For many of the NBA Draft hopefuls, that phrase can be difficult to follow, as it’s easy to get caught up waiting for individual workouts or the actual draft, now just one week away. But for Jae Crowder, doing everything one day at a time has become gospel, and a way of life.

“My mind is good, I’m taking everything one day at a time,” Crowder said. “I’m focused on that one day and it’s keeping me clear-headed.”

Crowder has kept his mind focused on a single day, whether that be his own workouts in Florida, an interview with a team’s general manager or a private workout with a team.

Jae Crowder has worked out for five NBA teams, and has two more (Boston and Atlanta) left before next Thursday’s draft. (Marquette Tribune)

And while the on-court aspect of his tryouts have come naturally to the 6-foot-6 forward-turned-wing, Crowder said the interview process has been much different than what he expected.

“Every team knows everything about you, they want to see if you’re going to tell the truth or lie,” Crowder said. “They ask me about the suspensions that went on, why I wasn’t involved, they want to know the answer to my side of the story.

“They ask what I would buy with my first check if they drafted me, who the people I would stay with, the people around me. They want to know if I make friends easily,” he added.

The questions are not just true and false, either. Crowder is asked a series of other questions that include:

  • Who is the biggest male influence in your life?
  • If a teammate described you, what would they say?
  • If you were an animal, what would you be?
  • Is it easy for you to spark a conversation with strangers?
  • When was the last time you drank? Smoked?

But that’s not to say Crowder hasn’t dealt with the interviews well. The night before he is set to work out for a team, he and his agent will go over the names of front office members he will meet with, and nothing else.

“I don’t prepare for any of it,” Crowder said. “It’s all natural because you don’t know what they’re going to ask you. These are guys who are making big moves, so it’s just all about talking truth.”

Crowder had workout requests from all 30 teams, but time constraints limited him to choose organizations he could succeed in and that had draft picks available near his potential landing spot.

He has worked out and interviewed with Cleveland twice, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Memphis and Miami. He has a Saturday workout with Boston and another with Atlanta on Sunday.

Crowder wouldn’t divulge much into specifics about the workouts, only saying that he has played against similar small forward-type players in each, and has been happy with his performances.

And where he began as a power forward at Marquette, working tirelessly on his dribbling and getting the feel for NBA basketballs, Crowder said his transformation of begin guard-oriented has finally “come to light.”

“It’s confidence more so than anything, and I’ve been shooting the ball better than I even thought I would,” Crowder said. “I’m going in the right direction, and I’m getting more confidence with that ball in my hands making plays. And one organization will see it.”

But even with the opportunities ahead of him, both in Boston and Atlanta this weekend, Crowder has kept his mind clear and focused on just today, a motto he originally learned from Buzz Williams, who used it as the annual team theme his first year as head coach at Marquette. The end of the year award is now named after Portland Trail Blazer Wesley Matthews.

“I talk to Buzz and coach Autry every day,” Crowder said. “Buzz tells me to take it one day at a time during this stressful process, and to give maximum effort. And I can’t argue with that.

“One day I’ll give it my all, and the next day wake up and do the same thing.”

And that’s just what Crowder has done, one day at a time.

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