07 January 2011

Paging Drew Crawford

Well now we know how The Mount felt when they rolled into the Welsh in December. The Illini didn't run out to a 20-0 lead, but it sure felt that way after the first four Illini possessions resulted in twelve points. This game was over before halftime, and the coaches/players were lambasted by the commentators. Rightly so.

Juice Thompson did his best to hold the line early on, but it was akin to sticking a finger in an irreparable dam. With a Northwestern defense that made it look like a Illini five-on-three power play, there was little hope that even our prolific offense could keep pace.

It is quite obvious that Northwestern is reeling from the significantly diminished effectiveness of John Shurna. The guy has gone from a 60%+ shooting pace from beyond the arc and 20+ ppg to 1-11 shooting games and single digit scoring efforts. It's hard to not be disheartened by this swift change of events.

Someone desperately needs to step up his game or this season will be a wash even before the PSU's of the world have their chance to dash our NCAAs dreams. We have been hoping that Juice Thompson would exert his will, but now we're not sure how much more he can do frankly. Nor are we counting on any increased production out of the five hole even though we suspect there will be occasional games in which we will be pleasantly surprised by Mirkovic and/or Curletti. JerShon Cobb has shown great potential, but he is just a freshman and will have his ups and downs.

That leaves Drew Crawford as the the key to saving this season. Just as was the case with John Shurna last year, Drew needs to step up his game and on a consistent basis. He has the skills to do it, but maybe not the right mindset. Maybe he should take notes from John Shurna who takes what the defense gives him. Instead of jacking up forced threes under pressure or off-balance he needs to take the ball to the hole. He's playing in the three spot, and in the face of pressure along the arc he should be able to drive past his man and force the defense to collapse.

So ready or not, Drew, this is your time. Make it so.