TIPTON’S MIKE CRAWFORD: ‘SON OF A GUN IS MR. BASKETBALL’

Front Cover - Vol 3 No 14 - March 19, 2013 (Mike Crawford)

THE DEAN’S LIST BY DEAN HOCKNEY

Sports Journal Publisher

Today is the day that Indiana coaches and media members begin the vote for Mr. Basketball, and this year, I will announce my Mr. Basketball vote to the entire state – I am voting for Tipton’s Mike Crawford. According to the Indianapolis Star, the race for the crown is down to Crawford, Zak Irvin of Hamilton Southeast, Demetrius Jackson of Mishawaka Marian and Bryson Scott of Fort Wayne Northrop. How cool would it be to see a central Indiana kid win the coveted No. 1 jersey.

A case could be made for any of the four frontrunners, but in my mind, if one looks at the complete athlete and person, then the race belongs to Crawford. For one, he led his team to three consecutive Class 2A Final Fours. Of the other three frontrunners, only Scott led his team to a sectional title this season.

Second, according to Tipton coach Brad Dickey, Crawford – a 2012 Indiana Junior All-Star – is a first-class citizen who does things the right way. When asked to sum up Crawford for voters across Indiana, Dickey said, “92 wins and a 4.2 grade point average. The son of a gun is Mr. Basketball. I know there are great players all over the state again this year, but there is no better story than Mike.”

I have had the chance to watch Crawford in action for the last three years. One of the knocks against the 6-foot-5 St. Louis University recruit is he comes from a small Class 2A program. Well, don’t tell that to Class 4A Westfield who lost to Tipton 73-71. Or 4A Connersville, a 54-50 victim of Crawford and the Devils. And scoring 40 points in two consecutive Final Four games is something that only a special player can accomplish, no matter what class they are playing in.

And then there was that memorable Jan. 19 evening in Tipton when the then third-ranked Blue Devils knocked off Class 4A No. 8 Kokomo. The Kats lost 57-56 in overtime, but it was the 35-point performance by Crawford that many will remember. He drained 11 of 22 shots, and when it came down to simple fundamental basketball, he hit 10 of 11 free throw attempts. The year before he scored 30 in a loss to Kokomo. Those numbers are courtesy of something Dickey says comes with hard work.

“I don’t think I will ever appreciate how hard he has worked or the extra hours he has put in,” said Dickey. “He is always so good about playing in the gym and getting into the weight room. You couldn’t even add it all up; calculators aren’t big enough to figure how much time and effort he has put into this.”

Crawford will leave Tipton with 2,104 career points – tops on the Tipton list. And when it comes to great Blue Devils, the alumni list includes Big Ten players Matt Waddell (Purdue), Kreigh Smith (Indiana) and current Hoosier Derek Elston. The 2,104 career points sandwiches him between Andrean’s Shane Power and Michigan City Roger’s Dan Palombizio for 27th all-time in the Hoosier state, 12 points short of catching the legendary Steve Alford.

But more importantly than gaudy scoring (he averaged 27 points per game this year), he is a leader and a true student-athlete. His senior class has a record of 92 wins and 14 losses, with three sectional and regional championships. The 92 wins are the best by a senior class in school history while only the Class of 1936 has more sectional titles with four. And the 25 wins this year are also a team record. In the classroom, the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Academic First Team selection is currently on pace to serve as the Tipton High School Class of 2013 salutatorian.

“We are hopeful that we will have another one like him, but history shows that is not possible,” said Dickey. “He is the real deal, and he is going to be missed. Mike is an extraordinary kid.”

An extraordinary kid indeed. And who knows, he might just be wearing the No. 1 jersey this summer when the Indiana All-Stars take the floor against the best from Kentucky. As I said, he has my vote. I like Mike!

Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.

Dean Hockney is the owner/publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana, sports editor of the Kokomo Herald and public address voice of IU Kokomo athletics. His column can be found each week on the last page of the Sports Journal. You can follow Hockney on Twitter (@Sports_Journal) to stay up-to-date on sports happenings in Howard County and around Indiana.

6 comments

  1. Jon Tebbe says:

    One thing about Mike is in close game situations when others are giving up or losing hope Mike still wants the “W” no matter what. Seeing Mike after the Semi-State was truly saddling because honestly it looked like he wanted it more than anyone. More than anyone at Tipton anyone at Bowman or anybody watching the game. I know a lot of people but if I’m ever asked if I’ve meet someone great I’m going to say yes I’ve met Mike. Becue of Mike I am glad to say I play basketball at Tipton. There are rising stars at Tipton also like Freshman Mason Degonkolb but I think as of right now and many years to come Mike will be the Face of Tipton Basketball. I’ve all ready said that Mikes going to take SLU to #1 next year so will be watching.

  2. […] Tipton’s Mike Crawford Son-of-a-Gun is Mr. Basketball (Sports Journal) […]

  3. WE WERE NEIGHBORS OF MIKE AND HIS FAMILY IN FOLEY ALABAMA UNTIL WE MOVED TO THE MONTGOMERY AREA. MIKE IS ONE OF THE NICEST YOUNG MEN WE HAVE HAD THE HONOR TO KNOW. HIS WHOLE FAMILY IS NICE. WE ARE SO PROUD OF MIKE, AND KNOW HOW HARD HE HAS WORKED, BOTH IN SCHOOL AND IN BASKSETBALL. GOD BLESS HIM. WE LOVE YOU MIKE. RALPH AND ALMA WINDOM AT muggswindom1@gmail.com

  4. tom deshon says:

    I am 60 years old and watched mike crawford grow up from a little guy. You will probably not meet a nicer young man that was brought up right buy his parents Mike & lori crawford. Oh by the way don,t try to beat him on golf course either pretty tough. Good luck Mike. your friend Tom deshon

  5. Tammy Sullivan says:

    Coming from a small town like Tipton you just can’t help but, know everyone on a personal basis. I have worked at Tipton High School for 15 yrs. and I can truly say Mike Crawford is one of the most personable Athletes we have had. I have watched Mike grow up from a little boy to the Young man he is today. Mike always greats everyone when a big warm smile.. Mike never complains about officials etc. that a lot of us fans and athletes do when we are losing. Mike knows you have to be good enough to beat what some say are bad calls. Mike takes time for everyone me meets. He is always looking for a way to better himself. Whether it be in Athletics or Academics. Mike Crawford is one of the nicest young men in Tipton Co.. He deserves to be Mr. Basketball for all the hard work and dedication he has done to prove to Young Athletes everywhere Hard Work, Leadership, does have rewards.

  6. Mike is my older brother, and I can’t believe how much he did for tipton. I look up to him in many ways, not just as a player, a brother. He helps me with my homework every night. He is so sweet and caring,and a outstanding basketball player. He is graduating in a few days. It’s gonna be really hard for me to let go, but I just think it’s another round in his life, and he will try his hardest. He’s going to slu and I think he will do great. I love him to the bottom of my heart even though we fight sometimes I love him.

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