Carrying a white Nike head band that conjures pictures from the previous, suppose Paul Pierce, 14-year-old Jason Crowe Jr. of Lynwood Excessive was hardly resembling the freshman phenom his supporters had been bragging about.
He had zero factors as the primary quarter was ending. Lynwood’s coach and Crowe’s father, Jason Sr., sat his son on the bench to relaxation and replicate. One thing was fallacious. He was sluggish, not aggressive or intense.
When the second quarter started, it was as if Crowe had simply come out of the nook throughout a boxing match after receiving a pep discuss from his coach. He abruptly regarded refreshed and rejuvenated. He went into assault mode on offense and protection. At a wiry 6 toes 3, with lengthy arms, he doesn’t have a senior’s energy, however all of the strikes and instincts followers had been raving about had been abruptly on show.
He’d go on to attain 39 factors within the last three quarters of a loss within the Beverly Hills event, leaving little doubt this can be a teenager who continues to be studying the sport however possessing a talent set few his age have attained.
Earlier than the event was over final month, he added video games of 43 and 46 factors towards opponents who knew they wanted to cease him. He’s averaging 36.3 factors a recreation this season, with a excessive of 51. He had 45 factors Saturday night time towards Lengthy Seashore Poly.
It’s startling how successfully he’s scoring on drives when his energy continues to be within the growth stage. You possibly can solely think about what he’ll be like in a matter of months as maturity kicks in and weight coaching permits him to soak up contact and fly by means of the lane as if he had been a trapeze artist. He reminds a few of Marcus LoVett Jr., who put up giant numbers at Windfall Burbank. Others point out the good Raymond Lewis, a Sixties playground legend from South Los Angeles.
“His skill level is very high, but he’s learning how to play basketball,” mentioned his father, a former standout participant at Inglewood Excessive and Cal State Northridge. “He’s a joy to watch.”
Because the basketball season heads into January and league play will get beneath approach, what’s clear is that Crowe is a part of a powerful class of freshmen making a direct affect on the varsity degree.
There’s additionally Tajh Ariza of Playa del Rey St. Bernard, Alijah Arenas of Chatsworth, Che Brogan of Santa Ana Mater Dei, Kaiden Bailey of Irvine Crean Lutheran, Joe Sterling of Encino Crespi, Brayden Kyman of Santa Margarita, Maximo Adams of Harbor Metropolis Narbonne, Zachary White of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Dominique Bentho of Studio Metropolis Harvard-Westlake and Joseph Riggins of Ontario Colony. That’s distinctive expertise from the category of 2026. Ariza and Arenas are the sons of former NBA gamers.
Equally spectacular is that some are already prolific from the free-throw line, a elementary talent typically forgotten. Bailey was 13 of 13 on free throws in a recreation earlier this season. Crowe made 10 of 11.
“That’s really helping my scoring getting to the free-throw line and attacking the rim,” Crowe mentioned.
Crowe has spent years enjoying towards his father within the yard. He additionally has been receiving recommendation from his father’s good buddy, Paul Pierce, the Corridor of Famer who confirmed as much as one in every of his video games at Beverly Hills.
“I always love him coming to my games giving me tips,” Crowe mentioned.
The very fact Crowe doesn’t flip 15 till July makes him one of many youngest freshmen in highschool basketball in an period the place dad and mom are holding their kids again so that they’ll be 16-year-old freshmen and extra bodily prepared for varsity basketball. Besides there was no holding again Crowe, who seems to be at occasions like LaMelo Ball when he was enjoying varsity as a 14-year-old freshman at Chino Hills with a fearlessness towards older, stronger gamers.
“It’s fun. I like the challenge,” Crowe mentioned.
Crowe seems to have a fantastic help system, together with his mom and father ensuring grades are vital together with being humble and a staff participant.
“I like this new era of parenting, where I see the grades every day,” Jason Sr. mentioned. “We’re trying to get straight A’s this semester.”
Good grades and good basketball can result in a vast future for Jason Jr., who could be 14 however is creating pleasure amongst those that acknowledge his expertise, ardour and dedication.