Crutcher named to Naismith Award preseason watchlist

Fifth-year senior guard Crutcher joins a list of the nation’s top 50 players for college basketball’s most prestigious player award, the Naismith Award, won by Obi Toppin in 2019-20. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

University of Dayton men’s basketball guard Jalen Crutcher was named to the preseason watch list for the Naismith Award on Thursday.

Joining 50 of the nation’s best players, Crutcher is nominated to the award won by former teammate and now-No. 8 overall NBA Draft pick, Obi Toppin.

Through three seasons as a starter at UD (85 starts in 94 games played), Crutcher has amassed 1,170 points (36th in UD history), 470 assists (ninth), 325 rebounds and 86 steals, while shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range, and 77.2 percent from the free throw line.

Crutcher’s best numbers came in the Flyers’ historic 2019-20 season. Averaging 33.7 minutes, 15.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game, Crutcher has also improved to 46.8 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from deep, and 86.9 percent on free throws.

With Toppin gone, a lot of the expectations fall to Crutcher, who has garnered national attention (also named to Bob Cousy Award watch list, given to the nation’s top point guard).

“Just staying humble and staying poised like I always be on the court and off the court (is how I manage those expectations),” Crutcher said in a media availability session Nov. 5. “It’s mostly just staying poised.”

Over his four years at UD, Crutcher has gone from a “soft-spoken” player to a true leader and will be a voice for the young guys on the team like fellow guards Koby Brea, Luke Frazier, and R.J. Blakney, and his role has changed “a lot.”

“It’s changed a lot because I have to use my voice, a lot more than I had, you know, in the years I’ve been here,” Crutcher said. “When I first came in, I was the younger guy. Now I’m the older guy so now I have to, you know, make sure they doing the right thing and make sure they are ready for when the game comes.”

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