Athlete Update: Adrian Crawford

Former FSU shooting guard Adrian Crawford has returned to Tallahassee after spending the past eight months playing professionally in Spain. Crawford shares his thoughts on a number of subjects, from fan support to the Gators to the March firing of coach Steve Robinson, whose staff included Crawford's father, Coleman. "You have to get things done, that's the bottom line. In five years you have to consistently get it done," Crawford said.

The thud of a basketball echoed through a local gymnasium. Adrian Crawford was stationed near the baseline, draining 20-foot jumpers as quickly as his father could feed him another bounce pass. The two repeated the process from the wing, then the top of the key, and back to the opposite wing and baseline

This could have easily been a scene 15 years ago, when Crawford was growing up in Akron, Ohio. Father and son hooping-it-up in their driveway. Life moves on, but the bond between father and son remains strong.

Of course, Adrian Crawford and Coleman Crawford were once an integral part of Florida State's hoop program -- Adrian as a sweet-shooting lefty and his father, Coleman Crawford, as a Seminole assistant coach under Steve Robinson for five years.

Adrian Crawford graduated two years ago and spent the past eight months playing professionally in Cordova, Spain. Robinson and his entire staff, including Coleman Crawford, were recently fired and replaced by Leonard Hamilton following a fourth consecutive losing season.

Adrian, 23, continues to make Tallahassee his home, where he lives with wife Wendy. Coleman Crawford also resides in Tally, at least until he makes a decision concerning his future. Robinson, meanwhile, recently was hired back on as an assistant coach at Kansas under good friend Roy Williams.

Adrian, thoughtful and well-spoken, says there are no hard feelings over the firing of Robinson and his father.

"The one thing that I learned through this whole process is that it (college basketball) is a business," Crawford said.

"You have to get things done, that's the bottom line. In five years you have to consistently get it done. If you don't, then, yes, they have to look in another direction. I think they had ample opportunity to do it (win). I really felt like they were going to turn the corner this year but things didn't fall into place. The university felt it needed to make a move."

The move has been applauded by FSU fans as well as college basketball pundits. While Crawford says he has heard "a lot of good things about coach Hamilton," he points out that the Seminoles' success depends largely on the players. FSU loses its top four scorers from last season, including the program's all-time assist leader in Delvon Arrington.

Hamilton has certainly been busy. Junior-college All-American Nate Johnson recently become the fourth player to sign with the Seminoles. He joins guard Benson Callier, and forward Al Thornton as three players who have signed during the spring signing period. Guard Todd Galloway jumped on board during the early signing period.

"I think coach Hamilton will do a good job," Crawford said. "I heard he's tough and will want things done his way, which is the way it should be. It will all boil down to who they bring in here. It always comes down to the players and do they want to play and will they play hard."

When reflecting on his three years with the Seminoles, Crawford will always believe his teams were on the verge of turning the corner. FSU enjoyed just one winning season under Robinson -- 18-14 during his first year 1997-98. Adrian Crawford, however, sat out that season under NCAA regulations after transferring to FSU from Tulsa, where his father worked under Robinson.

"It seemed like we were always right there (turn the corner), but we just went through so many different things," Crawford said.

"Then we lose guys like Randell Jackson, James Felton (transfer from St. John's), Karim Shabazz, Rodney Tucker. It seemed like my senior year we were missing one or two more big guys who could defend and rebound the basketball and had that inside toughness. I thought we had one of the best perimeters in the league in Delvon (Arrington), myself, Ron Hale, Damous (Anderson), Terrell (Baker). But that's the way it goes sometimes.

"Sometimes you wonder why things happen the way they do, but that's just life and you have to move on."

Crawford has moved on, averaging nearly 17 points a game while playing in Spain. Crawford said Cordova is a wonderful city with a rich history. He and his wife lived near downtown, where one could walk and explore the patios, gardens and mosaics that reminded visitors of the city under the power of Rome.

"In fact, by the end I was ready to go but she wanted to stay," Crawford said and laughed. "But it was fun and very interesting. It's a great experience to get outside of our country and see other cultures. And it's also a different style of basketball over there."

Crawford said European basketball is played at a slower pace than in America. He also played in the same league with former Wake Forest sharpshooter Robert O'Kelly. Crawford's season consisted of 30 games, which were played once a week on Fridays. He had one 30-point effort and also scored 18 points in the second quarter of another game.

Next season Crawford is possibly looking to play in Japan where former teammate Hale starred this past season. In fact, Hale is currently playing professionally in the Philippines.

"It was a great league to play in for your first year," Crawford said. "Once you get out (of college) you realize that there's a lot of guys playing basketball. If you are not going to get drafted, it basically comes down to who wants you. It was good for me to play at that level and it was also nice that I was able to get healthy for the first time in two years. College basketball wears you down physically, it bangs your body up every day."

As Crawford continues to work on his game, with the help of his father, of course, he says he plans to keep an eye on his former head coach. Adrian says he believes his father, meanwhile, is comtemplating whether he wants to return to the collegiate ranks as an assistant coach or try the NBA in some capacity. Coleman Crawford also was the head coach at Akron, winning 48 games over a three-year span. At FSU, Crawford served as one of the program's two primary recruiters.

"I think it was a good move for him (Robinson) personally," Crawford said.

"You can't go wrong there, it's one of the best basketball programs in America. He's familiar with the program. I think he will do a good job being there and there's no telling what will happen from that. I think it (returning to Kansas) can help bring him back to the perspective of what it takes to get to that next level. It can help refresh his mind in terms of what coach Williams does to help himself and his program be successful. There's no telling, coach Rob might be in Kansas just one season. He's going to be successful."

Crawford also believes the Seminoles can be successful. However, he often wonders if local fans will consistently support the program.

"That's the thing I've always wondered and asked myself in terms of how big basketball can be in Tallahassee," Crawford said.

"Even when the program was really good, it wasn't like they were selling it out (Civic Center) all the time. They had four NBA players on one of those teams (Sam Cassell, Doug Edwards Bob Sura and Charlie Ward). And you still can't sell the place out? I think people here want to have a good team but sometimes I wonder, here they've had good teams but you still can't sell the place out (consistently).

"It will be interesting to see as coach Hamilton turns the program around, how much fan support he will get. This is a football town, and rightfully so. They've been so successful at it. But look at what coach (Billy) Donovan did at Florida. He brought a different style down there, a fun style that people want to watch. He played and coached under Rick Pitino, and that's going to bring some excitement."


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