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1-on-1 with Augusta Christian’s Fantastic Freshman, Elijah Crawford

An all-region performer as an eighth grader, Augusta Christian’s freshman leader Elijah Crawford has already established himself as one of the area’s best players.

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Elijah Crawford (right) with his trainer Darrin Shine

An all region performer as an eighth grader, Augusta Christian’s 6-1 freshman leader Elijah Crawford has already established himself as one of the area’s best players. He possesses the strength and athleticism of an upperclassman. And his shooting and ball handling skills allow him to play point guard while still scoring in volume against the area’s largest schools.

Crawford’s point totals versus select teams:

  • vs Lakeside 24
  • vs Westminster 21
  • vs Brookland-Cayce 22
  • vs Grovetown 25
  • vs Greenbrier 22

Describing Elijah Crawford’s Uncommonly Advanced Game

Crawford exhibits incredible timing in blocking shots from the help side like a rim protecting big man. And he plays the passing lane and gets out on the break for easy buckets.

One of Crawford’s most impressive traits, which sets him apart from those his age as well as the area’s more experienced standout players, is his composure in the way he patiently gets to a spot in the mid range and elevates over a defender for a jumper that is difficult to defend for most guards. He also possesses good court awareness that allows him to set up teammates for open jump shots after he draws attention on a drive to the paint. And he knocks down three pointers at an above average clip, even off the dribble, and of the “step back” variety.

Watching a single game’s worth of Crawford’s highlights (see above) will be enough to make you wonder just how good he can be if he continues to be the gym rat that has defined him during his one plus seasons on the varsity scene.

During a Christmas Eve interview conducted over Instagram Message, Crawford, a successful student as well as an athlete, discussed everything from an assessment of his performance so far this season, how he trains and who he trains with, how he reads defenses and situations when attacking the defense, and what goes through his mind while he comes from the weak side to help a teammate with what is becoming a signature block shot of his.

Elijah Crawford in warmups during halftime of recent game against Grovetown

Interview with Standout Student-Athlete Elijah Crawford

Chad:

First question…

How do you feel about your performance this season? Describe what you thought you would be able to do coming into the season, and tell us how you feel you have done compared to what you expected to be able to do this year.

Elijah:

My performance this year to me has been okay. I feel like I can do a lot more to help the team win. Coming into this season I expected to come out out and kill every game, which I have done every game, whether it’s on defense or offense. Right now my main focus is to come out and be a better leader mentally and physically to the guys and win games.

Chad:

I’m impressed by your focus on winning. I think it shows your maturity. In my description of your game (above) I say your game is like that of a veteran, not a freshman. I notice how you have patience and how you get to a spot in the mid range and elevate over the defender and finish. Is that something you work on and think about?

Elijah:

Yes, usually when I train I work on beating the defender off the dribble and getting to spots where I can hit the easy pull up jumper.

Chad:

Where do you train, who trains you and how often do you train?

Elijah:

I usually train like 2-3 times a week with Darrin (Shine), mainly on weekends because of my practice schedule. But I also train at my school after or before practices with Coach (Brandon) Dotson, our head coach.

Chad:

Tell me about Coach Dotson’s work with you and how he has helped you improve your game.

Elijah:

He knows my strengths. Sometimes he will take me off the ball so I can get that easier shot, and so I won’t work harder than I need to.

Chad:

Do you think you play better on the ball or off?

Elijah:

I think it’s pretty balanced out, but I probably score more points being on the ball.

Chad:

Speaking of playing on the ball, you look comfortable getting a screen and working off of it. Do you practice that? Who do you practice it with, and what goes through your mind when you’re reading a ball screen and playing off of it?

Elijah:

Yes I do practice coming off a screen and playing a 2 man game. I practice it mainly with Darrin. When I’m calling for a screen my decision depends strictly on how the defense is playing, if I’m doubled I will look at the dump down, but if the defensive player plays off I will knock down the shot.

Chad:

You are obviously a gym rat. That’s a good thing. Your game shows it. But you also do very well in school, right? Tell me about that part of what you do.

Elijah:

Yes I do well in school. I have an A average in every class except one, which is a high B. School is very important, and my education comes before everything.

Chad:

I remember you were looking to go to some kind of cyber/technology camp a couple summers ago. Did you do that?

Elijah:

No the trip was cancelled. We were supposed to go to China and compete with others. I can’t remember exactly what it was for, but I think it was for a stem program.

Chad:

Last question: What is going through your mind when you come off your man on defense and go high into the air and block a guy’s shot, like I said, out of the air? And how did you learn to do that so well? That’s usually something you see from a “rim protecting” big man at the higher levels. But you’re a 6-1 freshman doing it.We showed a clip (above) of you doing it against Grovetown and then collecting it out of the air and pushing it up the court and driving and dishing to Avery Evans for a three. It’s one of the best plays I’ve seen this season.

Elijah:

I’ve always been athletic and able to jump, so I use that to my advantage because a lot of guys can’t get up high as I can. So usually when I have to leave my man and meet someone at the rim I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the block. Blocking shots is something you really can’t learn to do. It’s a mental thing because you have to know when to jump and how to time it. And in that Grovetown game I was just there in position to help, but when I saw he (Markell Freeman) kinda got by my teammate I just stepped over and blocked it.

Chad:

You’re an impressive young man, Elijah. You’re smart and talented and you’re a good person. Keep up the great work of making a positive impact on everything around you.

Elijah:

Thank you and I will.


Augusta Christian has spent the 2020 portion of this season’s schedule warming up against a representative sample of this area’s GHSA teams. But January’s arrival means it will be time for the Lions’ South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA) run, which won’t be easier to navigate than the team’s first 10 games, of which Augusta Christian was only able to win two. But the Lions have been competitive. And with the ball in Crawford’s hands, Augusta Christian will continue to be a threat come region and state tournament play.

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[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

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“Sophomore Malik Ferguson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the paint with one second remaining, and right before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, he released a shot that found its mark to give Grovetown 61-60 win over Evans Friday, a result that threw the top spot in the class 6A, region 5 standings into a three way tie between Grovetown, Evans and Heritage to mark the beginning of the stretch run for the league’s regular season championship. Ferguson’s shot came at the end of a full court dash by Grovetown after head coach Darren Douglas was able to draw up a play during a timeout that was meant to result in a bucket in only six seconds. The play was designed for senior Zach Bell, who eventually fumbled the ball after spinning between defenders at the end of a drive that began near half court after he gathered the ball from freshman Derrion Reid.”

That was Chad Cook’s rundown of the instant classic that these two teams played two weeks ago. That win by Grovetown sets up a must-win scenario for Evans as they look to maintain their footing in the race for a region championship.

Be sure to get your 🍿 ready early because if tonight’s game is as exciting as the last one, you just might forget those jokers altogether!

Streams will be posted here. Tip-off times are as follows:
Girls – 6:30 PM
Boys – 8:00 PM

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