Enthusiasm Returns For Crandall Head

Sometimes basketball players develop such a tremendous reputation at an early age they find it difficult to improve upon it or even maintain it as they get older. Everyone wants to see more from them, and that isn't always possible. Illini commitment Crandall Head shot to the top of the national rankings as a sophomore but lost ground this past year.

Crandall Head is a tremendous athlete who skys over defenders for layups and blocks. The younger brother of former Illinois star Luther Head has played with and against college and pro players for several years now. An early commitment to the Fighting Illini, he seemed to lose motivation this past school year at Crane Tech.

As a result, his national ranking has dropped precipitously. Since he was unable to participate in spring AAU ball, recruiting experts were beginning to wonder whether he had lost interest in the game. Those seeking interviews found him elusive at best, adding to the mystery.

Head may be back on track, if his play at the recent Chicago Hoops Classic is any indication. He was active and aggressive, blowing past defenders for acrobatic layups and playing tough full court defense. Has the love of the game been rekindled?

"Yeah, I'm very happy to get out here and play some ball. I'm having a very good time. I'm getting back in shape and running a lot."

Family and other obligations forced him to miss some practice and conditioning time in the spring, but he feels he is catching back up.

"I've been working out every morning, and now I'm back to playing AAU basketball. So I'm back where it started."

What is he working on?

"I just have to get in shape, shoot the basketball and run the floor."

Head was invited to the LeBron James Camp in Akron, Ohio, and he got to play with the top players in the country for a few days.

"It was all right. I was just out there playing. We were out there for about a week. We all had a good time. I got to play against a lot of good guys."

However, it appears he may have learned more at a camp prior to that one.

"I went to the Paul Pierce Camp too, and that's where I did most of the drills at. It was a midrange camp. They worked on my midrange shot, my driving, kicking, all sorts of things."

Life can be complicated for a star high school basketball player. There are forces pushing and pulling him in all directions. It affects his academics as well as his athletics. Even now, he is uncertain where he will attend school as a senior.

Head went to Rich South as a sophomore and Crane Tech as a junior. Rumors abound about where he will be this next year. His plans are uncertain.

"I don't know yet. I'm still enrolled at Crane, so if that's where I'm at, I'm at. I haven't made a decision yet."

Regardless, Illini fans will no doubt be excited to know Head is beginning to flash his talent on the basketball court again. If he continues to work hard on and off the court, the sky is the limit.

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