Crowder, who didn’t get any major offers out of high school, began his post-prep journey at Georgia Tech Junior College, where he led his team to the NJCAA National Tournament his freshman year before moving on to guide Howard College to an NJCAA national championship while earning National Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. Then Crowder moved on to a two-year career at Marquette, where he was named Big East Player of the Year and led the Golden Eagles to the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years.
On June 28, Crowder’s name was called and his NBA dream was set in motion.
“It feels like a dream. It’s a surreal feeling once you hear your name is called and you find out where you’re going. It’s a big sense of relief, as well. Felling that relief of the past two months and what I’ve been going through. It was a good feeling — great feeling, actually,” Crowder said.
The 6-foot-6 wing was taken with the 34th overall pick of the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a deal that sent the No. 17 pick Tyler Zeller to Cleveland.
Even though the pick was officially made by the Cavs, the trade between Dallas had already been reported so Crowder had an idea he was going to end up at the home of the 2011 NBA Champions.
“My agent had an idea. He kind of knew what was going to come out of it. We knew ahead of time and it worked out. Was ready for the opportunity to play for the great organization Dallas has. It is a great opportunity for me in my first year. We had a good feel for what Dallas was trying to do,” Crowder said. “Everybody knows they have a great basketball team and they’re a great organization and everyone knows they have great players. Just looking to fit in. Wherever I can fit in, I’ll fit in. I’ll learn from some great players and I look forward to doing that.”
Crowder said he has been in contact with someone in the Mavericks organization every day since the draft and will fly out to Dallas in the next couple of days before heading to Las Vegas for summer league games. The Mavs will play five summer league games, starting July 15 and going through July 21.
The summer league games will be Crowder’s chance to show what he can add to the team as the first step of making the roster.
“Just to do exactly what they’ve brought me in to do, which is play good defense, knock down a shot, be a good teammate and just be a player that can learn. Whatever they tell me to do, I’ll be ready to do it,” Crowder said.
There was a moment Crowder and former Marquette teammate Darius Johnson-Odom were teammates once again, as Johnson-Odom was taken by the Mavericks with the 55th overall pick. Dallas then sent Johnson-Odom to the Los Angeles Lakers for cash considerations. While they wont be on the same team, Crowder was happy to see a fellow teammate get a chance at the next level, as well.
The 34th overall pick was the fourth in the second round of the draft. Leading up to the draft, ESPNDallas.com and The Dallas Morning News ran stories on second-round gems and duds and the uphill battle some second-round draft picks have to fight to make the roster.
Crowder doesn’t look at the numbers — he looks at it as a chance to once again prove his worth on the hardwood.
“I don’t look at it as first round or second round. It is what it is. You’re a part of an organization now. If you were picked first or second, you’re a part of an organization and you have to bring something to the table. Each player in the draft, all 60 players, have to bring something to the table,” Crowder said. “I just feel like as a player who got drafted you have to bring something.”
That begins in Las Vegas on Sunday where there is really one goal.
“We have five games starting on the 15th and we’re trying to win all of them,” Crowder said.