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Matt Crawford - Lehigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Matt Crawford is heading into his fourth and final season for the
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
.  The 6'10" big man tells us about his previous basketball experiences, his career at Lehigh, and the team's future:

1)    Lehigh has signed a new coach for the new season, Billy Taylor (former asst. at Notre Dame & UNC-Greensboro).  What do you know about Coach Taylor?  Are you excited about the new change of direction?
 
Coach Taylor is very excited and ready to begin turning things around here at Lehigh.  He was part of building a very successful program at UNCG and its very apparent that he is ready to do that here.  He makes sure that we all work hard and is very open with his players.  His offense is also very open, he depends on his players to make the correct reads and decisions during the game.

 
2)    While last year's 5-23 record was a disappointment, the team seemed to have a lot of tough loses (10 games by under 6 points), and was more competitive than the record would suggest.  This also seemed to be a theme from the 2000-01 season.  Can you pinpoint any reason for the team's inability to get over the hump?
 
I really wish I had an answer to this.  We lost so many games in the last minute.  It always felt like if we could have had one more possession we could have won those games.  It got really frustrating because we always felt we were better than our record indicated due to those close games.  Hopefully this year well be able to correct it.

 
3)    With a new coach, the experience of high quality competitive basketball, a solid freshman class, and the return of senior star Matt Logie, Lehigh certainly has some optimism for the new season.  Has the team set any goals for the year?  Any predictions on how the team will fare?
 
The whole team is looking forward to the upcoming year.  We cant wait to step on the court and start playing.  I've played with most of our incoming freshmen and was very impressed with them. We also have a lot of experience in our strong senior class which I'm hoping will help us in those close games. Ooverall, we're looking forward to starting what should be a very successful season. 

 
4)    As a sophomore, you blocked a school record 65 shots, averaged 8 points Andover 5 boards per game.  Yet, this past season your numbers seemed to slip a bit. Was there any specific reason for this drop off?
 
This past season was a very frustrating one for me.  I was constantly tormented with small, nagging injuries that wouldn't go away.  I couldn't get into the same flow that i usually get into over the course of a season.  I had a few good games, but I felt that being injured kept me from maintaining a high level of play over the course of the year.  This offseason, I have been lifting and conditioning as much as possible so that I wont have that happen to me again.  

 
5)    What type of numbers are you hoping to put up this season?  Are there any special skills you been working on to take your game to the next level?
 
To average a double double would be nice.  For Lehigh to be as successful as I want to be, I have to play very well and do my part, which means rebounding, blocking shots, and scoring when I'm needed. This summer has been a great success so far, and I feel much stronger due to Coach Taylor's strength and conditioning program.  It is very tough, but everyone I have talked to on our team this summer, is seeing results.  I have gained about 15-20 lbs. since we started lifting in May.  This is the key for me, I have to be able to maintain strength over the course of the year and play physically inside.  That is the most important thing for me to do.     

 
6)    Do you know anything about Lehigh's new recruits (Austen Rowland, Michael Fischman, or Chris Stephenson)?  Do you think any of them will be able to come in and contribute right away?
 
I have heard very good things about Austen Rowland, but he will be sitting out this year due to the transfer from Delaware.  Mike and Chris are both very talented and will be able to help.  Mike will provide some depth at the 4 and 5 spot.  Chris is very athletic and could see some minutes behind Logie or Zo on the perimeter.

 
7)    Lehigh is a well-respected school in the academic universe.  How hard has it been to balance D1 athletics and academics at the same time?  Any plans on remaining involved with hoops in the future?
 
Lehigh is a very tough school.  Athletes are held to very high standards here and it shows.  Last year we had the number one graduation rate for student athletes in the NCAA (I think 94%).  Balancing athletics with academics is something you have to learn to do here, otherwise, you wont make it.  I'm always going to remain involved with basketball, whether it is playing, coaching, or watching.  It is a huge part of my life.

 
8) Is there anything special you'd like to tell Lehigh fans, Patriot League followers, or other hoop fans from around the country?
 
I would like to thank our fans for remaining faithful over the course of a very tough year.  I noticed that our attendance never dropped off, even though we struggled to win games.  When we start winning games, Stabler Arena is going to be a great place to play and watch basketball games.

 
As usual, I'd like to wish Matt & his family the best in the coming year.  If you'd like to read more great interviews, check out or interview archive.

 

 

 

 

 

 
       

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