(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Senior forward Jae Crowder was a beast -- and an efficient one at that -- last season. Anything less than that this year would qualify as a major let down. How great was Crowder's first season of D-1 hoops? So good that Cracked Sidewalks compared him to Craig Biggio.
Jae arrived at Marquette the same way Dwight Buycks, Jimmy Butler and DJO did before him: via the JUCO route. In his first season, he produced at a very solid level: 27 minutes, 12 points, and 7 rebounds a game. If you haven't looked at his "Team Impact" numbers, then you don't get a true idea of his statistical impact: solid numbers all across the board. His numbers tapered off in the month of February, but his March easily made up for it. With the great unknown facing Marquette in 2011-'12 being: "Who will replace Jimmy Butler?," the task will fall to Crowder to make up for some of Butler's lost production.
Despite only fouling out two times in 37 games, getting into early foul trouble was Jae's Achilles heel last season, and it's the primary reason he only started 17 games last season despite his excellent numbers.
If you haven't read the DraftExpress.com profile on Jae, I highly suggest you do. It's better than any of the words you just read.
Maintains his 2010-11 level of offensive production. I would hope his defense would see some improvement, but I'm not holding my breath.
In My Wildest Dreams:
Jae builds upon his solid first year of D-1 hoops. Staying out of foul trouble, getting nearly 35 minutes a game and averaging something close to a double-double every night.
In My Worst Nightmare:
He gets injured? I honestly don't see a scenario (other than injury) where his game regresses significantly in 2011-'12. Crowder's too smart and too skilled a player to have his game slip from last season's production level -- unless, of course, he shoots worse than 61% from the free throw line. That would give me an ulcer. Don't do that, Jae.