Little did he know, but Allen Crabbe did Mike Montgomery and the coaching staff at California a favor when he committed early in the process. Had the near 6-foot-7 small forward decided to extend the process rather than offering up a commitment during December of 2008, things could have been much different. That isn't to say that he wouldn't have ended up at Cal, but it's likely that Montgomery and his staff would have faced a lot more competition for a kid who is looking like one of the most improved players in the country.
Background: In looking at Crabbe, it's important to take a look at where he was prior to committing to Cal. Thanks to a strong summer between his sophomore and junior season, the then 6-foot-5 wing had developed a following amongst high major coaches because of his ability to shoot from deep. Coaches also liked his size but wondered about his all-around game. Needless to say, there aren't any questions about his all-around game now.
Strengths: As it was when Crabbe first burst onto the scene, his ability to strip nets from well beyond the three point line remains a strength. However, after emerging as more of a standstill jump shooter, Crabbe has diversified his game.
Having grown to nearly 6-foot-7, he's got outstanding size for a wing and has become much stronger taking the ball to the basket. He rebounds his position very well, has improved his explosiveness in the paint and has become a guy who is a threat to score from all three levels -- paint, mid range and deep -- on the offensive end of the floor.
Defensively, he gives strong effort and is also able to help out on the interior because of his size.
Weaknesses: While Crabbe has continued to develop his offensive game, he's not yet complete. His ball handling remains a bit pedestrian and he gets himself into trouble off the dribble because his left hand needs development and he still tends to dribble with his head down.
Another area to work on is the movement of his feet on the defensive end. At times, he's a little too rigid and doesn't slide his feet well enough to guard smaller, quicker players. Players will be bigger on the college level, but the fact remains that there aren't a lot of true wings with his size so he'll be matching up with guys that are smaller and quicker most of the time.
College Projection: It's the opinion of this evaluator that Cal has landed one of the bigger steals of the class of 2010. Like any high school player, there could be an adjustment period to college ball but odds are Crabbe turns into a productive player sooner than later upon his arrival in Berkeley. Look for him to be able to help out on the glass, as a guy who can stretch defenses and because of his size, he can even allow the Cal coaches to go small and quick by playing him at the four thanks to his size. In summary, this is a kid that Golden Bears fans should be excited to welcome into their program.