Where Joe Crawford will end up has been on the minds of Michigan basketball fans since he re-opened his recruitment back in July. Since then there have been countless rumors about what is/was on the mind of the young All-American guard. There have also been instances where the Crawford’s have been misquoted. Such was the case with the article in today’s Lexington Herald Leader. In it the elder Crawford is quoted as saying, “I wouldn't say Joe's in love with Kentucky, but he's infatuated with Kentucky. I think it'd be perfect for Joe. He's leaning heavily toward Kentucky, put it that way. It's imminent.” When I spoke to Mr. Crawford early this afternoon he was focused on clearing up the mischaracterization of what he said. “No, I wasn’t saying it was a done deal,” Joe Sr. said. “I never told him that Joe was going to commit to Kentucky or that the decision was imminent that it was going to be Kentucky. I just told him that a decision was imminent and was coming up sometimes after the playoffs.”
When I spoke to Sylvia Crawford (Joe’s mother) this afternoon she indicated that she felt it extremely important to clear things up because some have used stories such as this as fodder to criticize her son. “People have been saying Joe changes his mind a lot and that just isn’t the case,” Mrs. Crawford said. “We didn’t want an inaccurate story to remain out there and further some of the perceptions that people have been having. People have taken his decision to re-think things and turned it into some negative characteristic or character flaw. It took a lot to come to that decision. And as far as that press conference was concerned, we made it clear that we as his parents made the decision for him to hold off doing it at that time so it wouldn’t be like he was being pressured.”
Still, even after the uproar that was caused by today’s story, Mr. Crawford said that he and his family have learned to take it all in stride. “It was tiring at one point, but now we’ve relaxed a lot,” Mr. Crawford said. “ We don’t really think about recruiting too much anymore.”
One of the interesting twists of late, and probably the impetus for the call from the Lexington Herald-Leader reporter, is Kentucky’s recent recruitment of Oak Hill Academy PG Rajon Rondo. Rondo, ranked a 4 star prospect and the #7 PG in the entire nation by theinsidershoops.com, is apparently very close to pulling the trigger for the Wildcats according to this story on the insiders site, InsideTheVille.com. (For full story, click here.) Kentucky has already inked two guards in McDonalds All-American SG Adam Williams and PG/SG Ramel Bradley (rated a 4 star prospect and #20 PG in the nation by theinsiders.com). An additional point guard will come into the equation when Western Kentucky transfer Patrick Sparks, the state of Kentucky’s leading scorer as a senior in high school and an All-Conference player at WKU, becomes eligible next year. That gives them six guards/wings already in the fold. The addition of Rondo and/or Crawford would make seven or eight.
The story in the Lexington Herald Leader suggested that the Wildcats might be trying to ink both guards. However, it isn’t really clear how many scholarships Tubby Smith’s team has left. When asked if the reporter from the Herald elaborated on if he was saying that Kentucky was going to take two more guards Mr. Crawford responded by indicating that none of that was clear. “I asked him (the reporter) the question about the other guard that might commit to Kentucky,” Mr. Crawford said. “I don’t know for sure how many they have left. Some say they have one, but I don’t know for sure.” I also asked Mrs. Crawford about the scholarship situation in Lexington and she gave a brief synopsis on her understanding of where things stand at this point. “After Joe’s visit they got a commitment from a point guard named Ramel Bradley,” Mrs. Crawford said. “After that they told us that their primary remaining targets were Joe and Randolph Morris. They did tell us that they had to look beyond just those two. I’m not certain where or how this other guard fits into the equation, but as far as I know that doesn’t have any effect on Joe’s scholarship.”
The only thing that is clear after today’s furor is this decision could still go either way. Prep spotlight’s Vince Baldwin told us early in the week that young Mr. Crawford might end the speculation by mid February. Today Mr. Crawford confirmed that that MIGHT be the case. “We don’t have an exact date yet,” Mr. Crawford said. “We’re going to have to sit down and discuss it. We’ve talked about it and he’s almost ready to make his choice, but I think he wants to wait until after the playoffs. He just said playoffs so it could be after the PSL playoffs or after the state playoffs. If after the PSL playoffs he’s ready to go ahead and decide, we’ll let you know. His time is running out and pretty soon he’ll have to make his commitment, but I’m just not sure exactly when right now.”
GBW will certainly keep you readers posted.