Jon Teitel's "Forgotten Legends": FAU's Earnest Crumbley
Jon Teitel: Your coach at Florida Atlantic was Sidney Green, who was an All-American at UNLV before becoming a 10-year NBA veteran. What made him such a great coach, and what was the most important lesson you learned from him?
Earnest Crumbley: I liked his basketball background so I figured that I could learn a lot from him.
JT: During your sophomore season you went 14 straight games without missing a free throw. Did it reach a point where you expected to make every single free throw, and what is your secret for foul shooting?
EC: I just practiced a lot. I was always a gym rat. Repetition makes you feel comfortable and confidence is also important.
JT: What are your memories of the 2002 Atlantic Sun tournament title game (Robert Williams made a free throw with six seconds left to clinch a one-point win over Georgia State and the first conference title in school history)?
EC: It was one of the best times of my life, as we accomplished our goal of putting the school on the map by getting to the tourney.
JT: What are your memories of the 2002 NCAA tournament, the first in school history (Crumbley had 18 points and nine assists in an eight-point loss to 2-seed Alabama, who was led by Mo Williams' career-high 33 points)?
EC: The atmosphere was amazing. We did not play in a lot of packed houses coming from a small school, and most of the crowd was cheering for us as the underdog. We showed that we could compete with teams at the high-major level.
JT: In 2004 you scored a school-record 39 points against Campbell while making a school-record 11 three-pointers. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were "in the zone"?
EC: Once I started making a couple of shots and my teammates started to look for me, I just tried to keep being aggressive and get our team a win so we could get a conference tourney berth.
JT: You also hold the school record for career steals. How were you able to balance your offense and your defense?
EC: I was taught that defense always came first so you would not get in the game unless you played both ends of the court.
JT: You are still the leading scorer in school history. Did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were?
EC: I was never big on statistics. I just wanted to win games, play hard, and be respected as a player and student. I wish everyone chasing my records the best of luck.
JT: After graduating you played professionally in Mexico. What did you learn from the experience, and how did it compare to college basketball?
EC: Once you get out of college it is a different world, and playing in Mexico was a great experience. However college was one of the best times of my life, so being a pro cannot compare.
JT: Your dad Earnest Sr. is the coach at St. Petersburg College, and your brother Kory played at Bethune-Cookman and St. Petersburg. How big of an influence was your dad on your decision to play basketball, and who is the best player in the family?
EC: My dad always pushed us to do whatever we wanted to do but I gravitated to basketball because I was always in the gym with him. I consider myself the best player in the family but my dad was the best athlete because he played several different sports.
JT: You are currently an assistant coach at Redlands CC. How do you like the job, and what do you hope to do in the future?
EC: So far Redlands has been a blessing to me. We have been able to influence the lives of our players and I have been able to make contacts in a different area (as I am from FL). We have a lot of second-chance kids who we help to turn around in a positive direction. We even sent one of our guards to St. John's. I eventually hope to be a head coach at the Division I level.
Crumbley is also on Jon's list of best fantasy players in Sun Belt history.
Arkansas State: John Dickson (1967) 1891 PTS (#2), 1139 REB (#2), 62.5 FG% (#2), 2-time All-American, conference POY
AR Little Rock: Derek Fisher (1996) 1393 PTS (#3), 472 AST (#2), 184 STL (#2), All-American, conference POY
Denver: Harry Hollines (1968) 1879 PTS (#1), 2-time All-American
Florida Atlantic: Earnest Crumbley (2004) 1559 PTS (#1), 505 AST (#1), 181 STL (#1), 286 3PM (#1), 79.2 FT% (#3)
FIU: Dwight Stewart (1993) 2101 PTS (#1), 806 REB (#2), 264 AST (#2), 128 BLK (#1), 172 STL (#3)
Lafayette: Dwight "Bo" Lamar (1973) 3493 PTS (#1), 520 AST (#4), 3-time All-American, conference POY
UL Monroe: Calvin Natt (1979) 2581 PTS (#1), 1285 REB (#1), 57.4 FG% (#4), 3-time All-American, conference POY
Middle Tennessee State: Kerry Hammonds (1989) 1616 PTS (#3), 955 REB (#2)
North Texas: Kenneth Lyons (1983) 2291 PTS (#1), 1095 REB (#1), 2-time All-American
South Alabama: Jeff Hodge (1989) 2221 PTS (#1), 461 AST (#2), 223 STL (#2), All-American, conference POY
Troy: Anthony Reed (1990) 1875 PTS (#1), 913 REB (#3), 149 STL (#5), 57.9 FG% (#2), All-American
Western Kentucky: Jim McDaniels (1971) 2238 PTS (#1), 1118 REB (#4), 3-time All-American, 2-time conference POY