Javaris Crittenton learns by watching
Tech freshman getting the point
by A.J. Carr
Jan 20, 2007
It was after midnight Thursday, and Georgia Tech freshman Javaris Crittenton was still up, studying.
Not math or English, but a video of New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd. Some people collect coins, baseball cards or replica jerseys of famous athletes. Crittenton collects videos of basketball stars to improve his game.
The Tech point guard spends about four extra hours a week watching tapes of current or former NBA players such as Kidd, Steve Nash, Stephon Marbury and Magic Johnson. He also has a DVD of Michael Jordan.
"You can learn a lot, pick up something from each one," said Crittenton, who will lead Tech (13-4, 2-2 ACC) against North Carolina (16-2, 3-1) at 9 tonight.
Most of the hoopla has swirled around UNC freshmen Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson. But Georgia Tech's rookie class featuring Crittenton and 6-foot-8 Thaddeus Young, and including 6-8 Zach Peacock and 6-10 Mouhammad Faye, is also a heralded group.
At 6-5 and 198 pounds, Crittenton brings size, skill and savvy. He leads Tech in scoring (14.2 points per game), shoots 44.7 percent behind the 3-point arc and has 100 assists against 61 turnovers.
Young contributes 14.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Crittenton tossed lofty praise at Wright, Ellington and Lawson, with whom he became friends during their high school days.
Lawson and Crittenton phone each other from time to time and talked on Wednesday.
"We talk about how each other's doing, how each other's team is doing, stuff like that," Lawson said. "We'll probably talk trash during the game -- but it will be friendly trash."
Asked about individual styles, Lawson said, "He's probably a much better scorer. ... He plays just like me, but he's a little bit taller (six inches). I'm quicker. That's my advantage."
Crittenton, quoting Johnson, sees himself as a guard who "sets the table," gets his teammates involved, and strives to be a positive leader on and off the court.
Crittenton, recruited early and hard by Tech coach Paul Hewitt, realized life could have turned out different for a kid who grew up in an Atlanta project where crime and trouble lurked.
As a teenager he found refuge and gained a strong faith at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. While at Southwest, Crittenton was a solid student who developed into the nation's top-ranked point guard prospect. At Tech, he's majoring in business management and will try to keep taking care of business on the court, where he wants to improve his "decision-making."
If he does, young point guards might be studying videos of Crittenton one day.