Cam Crawford signs DI scholarship with Indiana State

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

HOOVER – After a flurry of offers following a special senior season, this year’s Player of the Year in Shelby County has signed his letter of intent to play Division I basketball.

Cam Crawford made it official at a special signing ceremony on Wednesday, April 14, when the Spain Park senior inked with Indiana State University to continue playing the sport he loves.

“We’re proud of him,” Spain Park head coach Chris Laatsch said. “What a great opportunity. It’s special. You can ask just about every basketball player at some point, and they all say they want to play at the next level. Many, many, many, many do not get that opportunity, and the Lord has blessed Cam with that.”

Despite his success with the Jaguars, which included leading them to the Final Four this season, it was a moment Crawford wasn’t sure would come when Laatsch stepped in as the new coach going into his sophomore season.

Set to be one of the team’s best players, he didn’t know what was in store with a new coaching staff, but he persevered and bought into what the coaches were preaching, and now has earned the opportunity to do what only 1 percent of high school basketball players get to do—play at the Division I level.

“If you would have told me my sophomore year when I first came in this gym for tryouts with coach Laatsch’s team and his new staff, if you would have told me I would have been in this position signing my national letter of intent to play Division I basketball, I might would have said ‘OK,’ but I’m not sure how much I would have believed it,” Crawford said.

Crawford went on to earn a spot on the All-County team as a junior, and improved every year, becoming the leader of the team this past season to earn the county’s Player of the Year award and a spot on the All-State Second Team.

He earned that praise after averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game to lead the Jags to the Final Four.

But more importantly, he grew as a leader, and that’s what shined the most in his three years playing for Laatsch and ultimately culminated with him being beloved by many on the team.

“When I think back about the three years we’ve been together, I don’t remember you missing a practice or missing a game. You’ve played through some injuries and you’re always there,” Laatsch said. “That’s something to be said. You made a commitment and stood by that.

“You grew as a player, you grew with your work ethic but you also grew as a leader, which we challenged you with when we first got here. God gave you leadership abilities and you grabbed that and ran with it. We’re really proud of who you’ve become as a player but even more proud of who you’ve become as a man.”

Crawford also thanked all of the support he received throughout the years, saying that is what got him to the point of signing to play at the collegiate level.

“I wouldn’t be here without the support of everyone,” he told the crowd in attendance. “For my team, y’all pushing me when I didn’t want to be pushed, for the friends who I would text after bad games or good games that always kept me up, family always being there for me, coaches and trainers, I wouldn’t be here without all of you, and I appreciate all of you.”

Now, he’ll enter a new chapter of life, but that support system is something that stood out to Laatsch, saying it will follow him wherever he goes.

“Always remember, take a visual picture right here of all the people who love you and all the people in your corner that are pulling for you,” Laatsch said. “You’ve got a great support system. I’m a little bit overwhelmed to see the number of people that care about you and are invested in you. “As you enter into your new phase and the next venture in your life, we’re pulling for you and praying for you.”

Crawford will now join an Indiana State team that finished 15-10 during the 2020-2021 season and competes in the Missouri Valley Conference and finished fourth in the league. The Sycamores lost to eventual Sweet 16 team Loyola Chicago in the MVC tournament semifinals.