Jalen Crutcher (#10) driving towards the basket in the Flyers’ loss to Colorado on Dec. 21. Photos in article taken by Griffin Quinn.
Sports Staff Writer
Jalen Crutcher is a 6-foot-1-inch junior point guard from the University of Dayton. He started all three years as a Flyer and received various honors while there. He made the A10 all-rookie team as a freshman, third team all-A10 as a sophomore and first team all-A10 as well as NABC all-district his junior year.
During his junior year, Crutcher led Dayton in multiple offensive categories. He was the team’s leader in minutes, assists, three-pointers, 3 pt. percentage, free throw percentage, and was the Flyer’s second leading scorer.
Crutcher’s offensive production steadily increased in his time at Dayton. Each year, he raised his points per game, field goal percentage, 3 pt. percentage and free throw percentage. In his final season, he averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 assists, shot 42% from three and turned the ball over a mere 2.1 times per game.
At 6’1 and 175 pounds, Crutcher is slightly below the average size of a typical NBA point guard, but he plays to his strengths. He has shooting range well beyond the three-point line, which he established throughout his time at Dayton but really proved during Dayton’s 2019-2020 season, when they went 29-2, which makes his 42% on 6 threes a game all the more impressive.
Crutcher also showed that he doesn’t shy away from the big moment, hitting multiple huge shots for the Flyers. This included buzzer beaters in two games, one to send the game to overtime against No. 4 Kansas and another to beat conference-rival St. Louis in overtime.
Crutcher is excellent in the pick and roll scenario. He has a knack for finding the roller or kick-out passes from screen sets, but he has also shown creativity around the rim. He had eight games with 20 or more points and eight games with 8 or more assists. He has decent athleticism, but plays with a steady pace and relaxed demeanor.
Crutcher’s stability with the ball is desirable in a point guard with his scoring ability. As Dayton’s lead guard, he had a career 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. He takes care of the basketball but has the vision to make passes when necessary without forcing anything.
A few of the question marks surrounding Crutcher are his defensive ability and his size. For one, A10 competition isn’t at the level of what most draft-ready point guards play at, so there is really no consistent benchmark to hold him at in terms of defending. He is also a thin 6’1, only weighing 175 pounds. Like most players coming out of college, he will need to add muscle to maintain both success and longevity in the NBA.
Crutcher isn’t known to have an intense motor, which can be both good and bad. While it is effective to have a poised guard at the helm of your offense, NBA players will leap at the opportunity to expose a lazy defender. He occasionally gets beat off the dribble by guards with a quick first step, which pulls other defenders off their men to help.
NBA comparison: Damian Lillard
Lillard is one of the NBA’s best point guards at the moment and has heightened versions of Crutcher’s strengths. “Logo” Lillard has the green light to pull up anywhere from beyond the arc and has progressively added to his offensive game.
Coming out of Weber State, the 6’2 guard was 10-15 pounds lighter than he is now at 195. Lillard works mainly out of isolation or pick and roll, and has the athleticism to make shots in the lane or at the rim against opposing bigs.
Crutcher is maintaining his final year of college eligibility by not hiring an agent, so there is a good chance he will be back at Dayton next year. Testing out the NBA waters by getting some feedback from scouts and organizations can only help his game.
If he were to remain in the draft, he probably wouldn’t get drafted until late in the second round or even be picked up as a free agent. Crutcher had a fantastic junior year for the Dayton Flyers during their historic season, and would be a major loss to the team if he decided to stay in the draft.
He is just one of many point guards in a guard-heavy 2020 draft, which makes returning to UD all the more enticing.