Austin Crawford will be taking his talents to Ohio.
The Bracken County graduate has made the decision to transfer from Morehead State University, where he played his freshman year, to Shawnee State University to further his education and basketball career.
“When I went to Morehead I knew I had to work for my spot,” said Crawford. “I just felt like it was time for me to transfer somewhere else and try to play right away.”
Crawford saw limited minutes with the Eagles, appearing in nine games this past winter. He scored his first collegiate point on a free throw in an 85-57 win over Kentucky Christian University on Dec. 12 and knocked down a 3-pointer in Morehead State’s game at Butler, an 85-69 loss.
Crawford was coming off a senior season with the Polar Bears in which he averaged 25.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He finished his high school career with 3,192 points, 1,090 rebounds and 474 assists in 149 career games. He’s currently 16th in the KHSAA record books in career scoring and was only the sixth player in in KHSAA history to score over 3,000 points and grab over 1,000 rebounds.
“I think it motivated me a lot more. I’m used to being on the court all the time, controlling the outcome as much as can,” said Crawford. “Sitting on the sideline and watching was kind of hard, but it motivated me to be better player.”
Shawnee State recruited Crawford out of high school. He said he was drawn to the campus and the style Bears’ coach Delano Thomas likes to play. Crawford said the decision to transfer came near the end of the season.
He’ll be joining Bailey Cummins, the leading scorer in girls’ basketball history at Bracken County, at Shawnee State. Cummins averaged 13 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this winter, earning third team NAIA All-American honors. The Shawnee State women finished the season with a 31-4 record, going undefeated in Mid-South Conference play to claim both regular season and tournament titles.
“During the process I talked to her a little bit and asked about the campus and she said she liked it,” said Crawford.
The men’s team is coming off a 14-17 record in Thomas’ first season as head coach, falling in their first game of the MSC Tournament to the University of Pikeville. The team had three seniors on the roster. Two were guards.
“The role he’s wanting me to play is the one and two, be kind of versatile with whatever kind of style we’re running at that time,” said Crawford. “They have a couple of point guards already.”
Crawford shot 46.3 percent from the field his senior year of high school, 70.3 percent from the foul line and 30.9 percent from 3-point range. His 1,187 career free throw attempts are the most in KHSAA history. He believes his stint playing NCAA Division I basketball helped his confidence shooting the ball.
“I just think some of the players and coaches helped me with being what kind of player I am. I never really was very confident with my shot in high school. I was kind of a driver,” said Crawford. “I’m more confident in shooting and they pushed me to be a better defender. I wasn’t really the best defender in high school, either.”
Crawford says he plans to make the move to area soon to begin summer workouts.