MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Memphis Tigers are getting ready for their first round game in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 21, in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They just don’t know who they’re playing. It will be the winner of the play-in game between Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s.
What the Tigers do know is guard Chris Crawford is peaking at the right time, coming off an MVP performance at the C-USA Tournament.
“He made himself a lot of money,” one Memphis sports journalist described Chris Crawford’s performance in the conference tournament.
Another said, “When Chris hits shots—this team wins.”
But the person who knows Crawford best, simply said, “That’s my baby!”
“It’s a dream; it’s a dream come true,” said Betty Crawford, Chris’s mother.
Betty’s son was amazing in the Conference USA Tournament, raining in three point shots on his way to MVP honors.
“Chris was obviously sensational,” Geoff Calkins told abc24.com, “for these three games he was absolute money.”
Calkins is the talented sports columnist for the Commercial Appeal.
Crawford scored 77 points. On campus, they noticed.
“It’s like I expect him to be that phenomenal,” said U of M junior, Leslie Nelson.
A Betty watched from the stands, and everybody congratulated her.
“It was just high five, high five, high five, high five,” Betty said, “people that didn’t even know me were still giving me high fives.”
“There apparently is a connection between mother and son,” said Commercial Appeal sportswriter John Martin, “when the son is hot, so is mom.”
“Right now, Chris is confident,” Calkins added.
He is confident, and thankful.
“Stay humble,” Chris advised, “stay humble as a team and try to get the win.”
When it was over and Chris was named MVP he looked for his mom, a moment captured forever on film.
“He gave me his trophy and hugged me,” said Betty, “he was like—this is what I want to do for you and my dad. We cried tears of joy.”
Now it’s time to look ahead to the Big Dance and win a game in the NCAA’s.
“This year we’re not going to overlook nobody,” Chris said. “Every team is good.”
“He’s ready to do what he has to do, to help the team win.” Betty said.
On campus, that’s expected.
“I’m really hard on my players,” said Nelson, “they all know me, I’m like a coach. You better—ooooohhhhh, you better make sure you make your mama proud,” he laughed.
Chris Crawford’s father passed away when he was seven, so the win and his performance was partially for Dad.
Because of his size, court vision, ability to defend, and obviously his shooting, Crawford has enhanced his NBA potential. Crawford’s next task: do it again Thursday.