Memphis Big Man In Focus

With five scholarships to give in the 2005 recruitng class, Stanford will undoubtedly take at least two big men to help shore up a thin frontcourt. Replacing the likes of Justin Davis and Rob Little is no small task, which has the Cardinal coaches searching for size, athleticism and strength from coast to coast. One elite name that has popped up is 6'10" Memphis, TN center RouSean Cromwell...

We truthfully know very little about national Top 25 center/forward RouSean Cromwell, who hails from Fairley High School in Memphis, TN.  The photo above is a good 18 months old, and little has been written about him in the past year.  But the athletic 6'10" big man has a host of major college programs calling his school on a regular basis.  Long arms and quick leaping ability have made him a stifling presence on defense, as both a shot blocker and rebounder, and his offense is just starting to come into its own.

A recent report by Jeff Goodman of TheInsidersHoops revealed a 4.5 GPA for the stellar student-athlete, with recruiting interest coming from Ivy League schools and Stanford, as well as other high-majors like Oklahoma and Florida State.  That piqued my interest, so I called Fairley HS this morning to speak with head coach Sylvester Ford.

The head man could not be more pleased with Cromwell and his Bulldogs right now, after they recorded one of the bigger upsets in East Coast high school basketball this season.  Friday night they upset the top-ranked team in the state, White Station, who also was ranked #10 in the country.  The Bulldogs did it with defense, in a physical grinder that ended 47-42.  No player for Fairley scored more than nine points.

"RouSean blocked several shots and pulled down big rebounds," Ford notes of the junior center's role in the Memphis AAA city championship game.  "His defense was so big for us."

Cromwell is averaging 12 points, nine boards and four-plus blocks per game this year, though the final chapter is yet to be written with the coming state playoffs.

"His strength is in the low block right now," Ford offers on his prized big man's offensive game.  "He can score with his back to the basket, and we play him at the five.  But we also will play him at the three or four.  He runs the floor well and jumps well.  I'm not the only coach who loves his defense."

That says a lot about the 6'10" junior's burgeoning versatility for a coach to play him in spots out on the wing like that.  Though Ford is just as interested in extolling Cromwell for his all-around character and academics.

"He's an authentic kid in the classroom just like he is an authentic kid on the court," the Fairley head coach beams.  "He's a great influence on the other players."

Ford says that Cromwell has scored an 18 on the ACT.

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