Crawford decommits, eyes UNC

Michigan Head Coach Tommy Amaker had a pretty good start to the summer as he watched his star commitment, Joe Crawford, solidy his lofty status at several big events. The 6-4, 205-pound SG-WF from Renaissance High in Detroit scored at will and showed off blazing speed, brute strength and a soft shooting touch.

And Amaker had him in the bag.

Until now, that is.

The prep star recently withdrew his verbal pledge to play for the Wolverines and reopened his recruitment. And on his new short list of schools? You guessed it -- The North Carolina Tar Heels.

IC went straight to the source Monday night and spoke to Crawford and his AAU coach about the recent happenings:

"I just felt that I committed too early," explained Crawford. "I had a lot of pressure on me. A whole lot. And at that time, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But there were all of these other schools out there and I felt like I just never got to look at them."

The programs that Crawford intends to look at are Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri, Notre Dame and another recent addition -- the Clemson Tigers.

"They (Clemson) have started to come on real strong, they really seem interested," said Crawford.

When asked about the Tar Heels, Crawford and his AAU coach, Durand "Speedy" Walker admit that a certain number 23 had a big influence on his fondness for the University of North Carolina ...

"Well, for starters -- he's a HUGE MJ fan," Walker said. "That's his hero, so UNC has always been of high interest for him."

And besides the love for Michael Jordan, Crawford said that a few of Carolina's current stars have intrigued him as well.

"Those freshman!" said Crawford, "I love the way they play. They're just so talented, and the way they get up and down the court, I was like wow!"

"When I look at UNC, I just see so much success. I've always admired them since I was young. I'd love to visit there if they're interested in me."

As to whether UNC has reciprocated interest?

"Well, I haven't talked to them yet, but I heard through one of my assistant coaches on The Family that they were going to look at me some in Vegas. I heard they should be calling, so I guess we'll see."

Walker, who's probably seen Crawford in action more than anyone, described his star's on court presence.

"He's just a super -- check that -- phenomenal athlete out there. He's got good size, great ball skills and he's just so tremendous as an athlete. He gets to the rim. He can shoot. He can handle the ball. He just makes things happen. He's a superb ball player, that's all I've got to say," Walker said.

Crawford averaged over 18 points-per-game last season at Renaissance and earned a spot on the prestigious Detroit Free Press All Metro Team as a junior. And based on his performances this summer (which have him ranked No. 12 in Dave Telep's Top 50), it's very likely that the Michigan prep star is selected as a McDonalds All-American.


Check out IC's Joe Crawford profile.

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