Joe Joe Lighting It Up at USA Youth Festival

More and more analysts are starting to pay attention to Joe Crawford's phenomenal skills. At the USA Youth Basketball Festival in Colorado Springs, Joe's aerial assault has been on full display.

I've seen Joe Crawford play so many times that I've grown to expect him to do spectacular things in every contest I observe him in. While the phrase, "familiarity breeds contempt" is a poignant cliché' for a great many things, that is not the case when referring to this young man's game! He has the ability to bring you to your feet with something exciting whenever he steps on the court. That seems to be what he's been doing thus far at the Youth Basketball Festival in Colorado Springs.

Joe is currently leading his North Team (0-2) in scoring with a 20ppg average off of games of 16 and 24 points respectively. Despite the fact that his team is in last place thus far (All Festival stats can be found here), Joe Joe's play has definitely raised a few eyebrows. It's very refreshing to see that others are now starting to recognize what many in the state of Michigan have known for quite a while…..this young man is BIG TIME!

After covering the Spiece Run N Slam Tourney in Ft. Wayne, The Glass City Tournament in Toledo, and The Nike Memorial Day Classic in Bloomington during the month of May, GBW planned to be at the Hoop Jamboree in St.Louis last week. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented us from being able to attend. Luckily, the Insiders Network has a heavy presence at all of these tournaments and below are excerpts from a few of the Youth Festival reports from around the network. I'll add a few high-flying pictures from past games that I've attended for those who are unfamiliar with his elevation! Brief commentary on Ron Coleman and Malik Hairston is also included. We'll resume our tourney coverage in the near future.

To view each report in its entirety, click the links.

Mike Williams has 28 to lead South in USA Festival
By Chris Monter
Date: Jun 27, 2003

Joe Crawford made all three three-point attempts as he had 16 points.

USA Camp: Day Two (A.M. Session)
By Dave Telep National Scouting Director
Date: Jun 27, 2003

Joe Crawford, SG, North: The Michigan native had a terrific first half before Tyler Smith stepped up the defense on him in the second. Crawford's stature as a prospect keeps rising in our mind. His ability to elevate and hit the mid-range jumper with ease is a huge asset.

The North's Drew Neitzel and Ron Coleman combined to shoot 2-for-15 from the field. … Russell Robinson is looking for an answer to the attitude after going 0-for-3 from the field.

Remember the windmill dunk made famous by Dominique Wilkins? Here it is at Spiece!

USA Day 1: News and Notes
By Eric Bossi
Date: Jun 28, 2003

With so many elite level athletes in attendance there were sure to be some earth shaking crams. Looking for early honors was Michigan bound combo-guard Joe Crawford of the North squad. At 6-4 and probably 205 pounds of muscle, Crawford is beyond explosive and made sure East guard (and high riser himself) Isaiah Swann got two up close and personal looks at what Crawford is packing with high flying two handed finishes. Alas, after holding the lead in the filthiest dunk category for most of the day Crawford was surpassed by the East's J.R. Smith.

Joe with the poster shot at Spiece!

Cameron Stanley leads 7 in double figures in East
By Chris Monter
Date: Jun 28, 2003

The Family AAU teammates Malik Haitston and Joe Crawford scored 24 points each for the North. Crawford was aggressive going to the hoop as he made eleven of 19 shots from the field.

Joe gets in the lane for the leaner at Spiece.

USA Camp: Day Two (P.M. Session)
By Dave Telep
Date: Jun 28, 2003

Malik Hairston, SF, North: Not unlike Carmelo Anthony, Hairston is always at his best when he rebounds the ball. In his first game, he had just one board to go with 9 points. In no coincidence, he had 24 points and 9 rebounds in the nightcap. He went 4-for-7 from downtown and scored just about every way imaginable.

Joe Crawford, SG, North: There's no denying him a spot in our Top 20 when the rankings come out next week. He's strong, a super athlete, has a great feel and finishes with forceful dunks often. He had 24 points in a loss to the East.

This play got everyone off of their feet at the Nike MDC. The picture really doesn't do it justice because Joe Joe is on the way down and I had to dodge folks standing in front of me to get the shot. He caught the lob high above the rim with two hands, switched it to one, and then threw it down! Get the "Joe Joe" chants ready because their will be plenty of highlight moments at Crisler when this kid gets to Ann Arbor!

Day Two News & Notes
By Dave Telep
Date: Jun 28, 2003

Not only is Joe Crawford a terrific offensive player, he's really taking his defense seriously at the camp. Maybe the play of the day came off a Crawford crossover in which he blew by Isaiah Swann for a sweet baseline dunk.

As we said before, if you watch Malik Hairston closely, you can gauge the kind of game he's going to have by the way he rebounds. Tonight he even finished a few plays with slams.

Joe catches one of his six first half alley oops versus the team from Long Island at the Spiece Tourney.

For links to all past Joe Crawford stories (from AAU tournaments and HS games), as well as tournament and HS coverage of other commits and targets, click Basketball Recruiting Primer Update. The link to this regularly updated piece can be found on the left hand nav bar under Best Guess Recruiting Class -> Basketball.

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