2005 Focus: Leo Criswell

Leo Criswell's season is all about change. He moved from Washington High to nearby Piper in Kansas City. Now he's looking to expand his rep as well.

Leo Criswell has always yearned for the exposure. In fact, his e-mail address even says as much. Finally, the Kansas native is getting it after a strong summer showing with the K.C. Pump ‘N Run.

``The biggest thing for him is just to play because the more he plays, the more comfortable he's starting to get," Pump ‘N Run head man L.J. Goolsby said. "His better days are clearly ahead of him. He has so many tools, but he just needs experience." The 6-8, 210-pound versatile junior forward transferred from Kansas City Washington, where he played just a handful of games last season, to nearby Piper in an effort to get his academics in order.

He put up 24 points in his debut, a 74-63 loss to Ottawa this past weekend.

Criswell can handle the ball for a player his size, is able to shoot it from the perimeter and can also find open teammates. However, he needs to put on weight and develop some post moves in the paint.

``I don't think there are too many big men that can hold me on the perimeter," Criswell said.

While Criswell hasn't fielded any scholarship offers just yet, it's just a matter of time. So far some of the interested parties include Marquette, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, Arizona, Arizona State, Wichita State, Kansas State, Louisville and Oregon.

``My mom wants me to go to Kansas and stay close to home, but I want to get out of the area and experience something new," he added.

Criswell admitted to a case of the nerves early on at ABCD Camp this past summer, but said he began to settle down and play well towards the end of the week. He said he even felt he held his own with Dwight Howard when the pair went head-to-head.

``He's a lock to go to the NBA and I was hanging with him," Criswell said. "I just don't think anyone really knows about me nationally yet. I'm pretty local right now."

Goolsby agrees that all that will change in a hurry if his star player can develop more of a complete game.

``The biggest thing is for him to work on his post skills," Goolsby added. "Right now he's showing everyone he's capable of facing up. He passes and shoots it so well that once he establishes a post presenc he'll be unstoppable."

Scout Hoops Top Stories