Player Breakdown: Jae Crowder

You think Buzz is going to miss this guy? (Marquette Tribune Photo)

This is the last part of  Paint Touches’ series breaking down each players’s 2011-2012 campaign and looking forward to next year. A big thank you to assistant coach Aki Collins, who provided exclusive, in-depth analysis on each player.

What he did well: Everything. He literally did everything well this past season culminating in a Big East Player of the year award. More specifically though, Jae led the Golden Eagles in rebounding, steals and minutes while coming in second for points and blocks. Whether Marquette needed a bucket late or a defensive stop, the dreadlocked one was there to step up.

Crowder had a knack for taking over the big moments. Whether it was taking over against the towers of UConn or his counterpart Kevin Jones, Jae was not one to back away. Take a look at the chart below, and while its not a perfectly scientific metric, it goes to show what a tremendous finish Crowder had in the Big East. Jones may have been the leader out of the gates, but Crowder’s final kick was one for the record books.

He led the team in win shares with 8.1, the most ever by a Marquette player since the metric was kept and good for 6th in the country this year.. He also finished fifth in the country with 88 steals, wreaking havoc amongst big and small players alike. On the other side of the ball, Jae was one of the best in the nation at not giving the ball away, turning it over only 7.9 percent of the time.

What he could have done better: The biggest flaw in Jae’s game last season was a penchant for accumulating a few quick whistles and getting into foul trouble. Starting at around the midway point of the season, and particularly when Gardner and Otule went out, having Jae on the bench for any extended period of time spelled doom for the Golden Eagles. Its defense was nowhere near as potent and the offense stagnated. Crowder was much better at not fouling compared to last year, though, when he had to come off the bench to prevent him from picking up quick, early fouls.

His three point shooting was not bad by any means, but when nitpicking, is something that could have used some more consistency. He shot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc, making 1.7 of his 5.1 attempts per game. This was particularly true during the final seven games of the season where he only hit 9 of 42 attempts  (21.5%). Again, he was doing everything else right so this is not a critique as much as it is nitpicking. Jae had one of the best seasons in school history (and recent NCAA history as John Pudner’s tremendous value add website now shows).

From the coach: “If I told you I expected it, it means I’m going to play the lottery tonight. No way, no how. Thought he was a good player, but after we lost Jimmy I didn’t think we’d see another player have that type of impact on both ends of the floor. And here we are a year later and Jae does the same thing. Earlier, he went six or seven weeks, and Darius and I were talking about it the other day, where you think, “Where did he come from?” All year people were asking me about he and Darius, and I’d say they’re 1A and 1B, Batman and Robin. I don’t know who Batman is, I don’t know who Robin is. They alternate. And I truly feel that way, but the last seven weeks I think he tried to stake his claim to being Batman, like I have this.

And to Jae’s credit, every time he was named player of the week, he thanked his teammates. When he won player of the year, he said, “No. We won player of the year” to his team. Like, I couldn’t be here without you guys. And both of those kids realized they needed each other. It was healthy, and they supported each other and I’ve never seen a 6 or 7 week stretch like that. He was great.

His dad played, so some of that is the pro mentality. How to conduct yourself, how to make people feel as if you’re in control and they can rely on you. And that’s a great trait to have. I think he and Darius did a great job balancing each other off and leading in their own individual way, but collectively always being a rock. No matter what was going on in their personal life, no matter what was going on on the court, they always a were a rock. For his size and what he’s been through in his life, he’s really well-grounded.”

USF stop me? LOL (Marquette Tribune Photo)

Best performance: Mar. 15 vs BYU (25 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals)

This was truly an impossible task. How is one to pick between the UConn game that put him on the national map, the West Virginia game that locked up the Big East Player of the Year, and the BYU game that saw him do something historic in postseason play. In the end the bright lights of the NCAA Tourney made his BYU performance the best one this year. Crowder completely dominated the cougars, throwing up a first half double-double and becoming only the third player in NCAA Tournament history to record at least 25 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in one game.

Worst performance: Dec. 3 at Wisconsin ( 24 minutes, 2 points, 4 fouls)

It’s counterintuitive to think that one of Marquette’s biggest wins of the season, at the always tough Kohl Hole, saw Jae’s weakest game in a Marquette uniform. Crowder picked up a few early fouls that put him on the bench early and never allowed him to get into a rhythm. He was 1-4 from the field for 2 points, he only grabbed 3 rebounds (the lowest number of the season), and he didn’t get to the line once. He would bounce back in a big way a few days later though, hitting the game winner against Washington at Madison Square Garden.

2012 outlook: Stay tuned to the continuing series on Crowder’s Path to the NBA here on Paint Touches.

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  1. Daybreak Doppler: Packers Draft a USC Bookend OLB | - April 27, 2012

    […] Paint Touches’ player breakdown of Jae Crowder. […]

  2. Jae Crowder selected by Dallas | Paint Touches - June 28, 2012

    […] His bulky stats only tell half of the story, however. Crowder was one of the most efficient players in the country, finishing  eighth in Ken Pomeroy’s player of the year standings. He rarely turned the ball over, finishing 21st in the country in turnover rate while picking more than his fair share of pockets. Crowder finished the season with 88 steals, good for fifth best in Division I last year. […]

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