The uncanny overlap in the two point guards’ names might belie an overlap on the depth chart in the upcoming years. It’s way too early to know: 6-foot-4 point guard Chase Crandall is a 2014 prospect from Mira Costa High (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) with nary an offer to his name. However, if Crandall, whose father reached out to The Bootleg to arrange an interview, had his way, he would likely be suiting up in Cardinal and white in a few years’ time.
“College-wise, I’m looking for best combination of basketball and academics,” Crandall said. “Or a better way to put that is: where can I receive the best education while also playing a high level of basketball?”
Early indications are that Crandall will have a solid shot at playing at an academically-inclined school.
“My freshman year, I started getting some looks and some questionnaires,” he said. “It’s really taken off recently. Colleges have seen me after the spring session.”
Specifically, Crandall reports that Rice and Ivies including Yale, Princeton, and Harvard have been in contact. Unlike those schools, however, Stanford plays in the high-major Pac-12, so getting attention from the Cardinal will be a taller task.
“I actually took an unofficial there earlier,” Crandall said of the Farm. “Stanford would be my No. 1 school, no doubt. Obviously their basketball is strong and the education is even stronger.
“I received a letter earlier this year and it said to please call these three numbers, and then my parents were big promoters in getting me up there,” Crandall said. “But Stanford said, ‘Yeah, come up, we’d love to show you around.’
“[The trip] was great. I met with Charles Payne, the assistant coach, who showed us around for a good three hours. I met with an academic advisor and got to talk to the head coach for a while.”
Looking ahead, Crandall has several reasons to think that his recruitment should only pick up in the months and years to come.
“I’m going to [Stanford’s] elite camp this summer so, that should spark more interest hopefully,” Crandall said. “Plus, I’m in the class of 2014, which means I’m a sophomore now. The greatest number of people get offers their junior and senior years; you have to be head and shoulders above to get offers as a sophomore.
“Plus, I’m still growing. I’d always been on shorter side, and played point guard from age five to sixth grade. Then, seventh through ninth grade, I grew a foot and a half and retained my guard skills. I just feel more natural [at the point guard position] using my height and length to my advantage. They said I’ll probably get an inch more, if I’m lucky two, so 6-foot-4.5 to 6-foot-5 is where I’ll end up.”
The combination of height and ball skills could be a differentiator for Crandall, helping him get noticed and ultimately succeed at the next level.
“My strengths are that I can get to the hole really easy and have good court sense,” he said. “I make passes to set people up. I have a good midrange game and can elevate to get my shot up. I’m a pretty good three-point shooter, but I’m working on getting depth on it so I can become a deeper shooter. To sum up, I’m strong as a point guard passing to get my teammates involved, but am a good scorer as well.”
Despite his height, Crandall says schools do see him as a guard in part because of his passing ability. In addition to deep threes, he says he’s working on strengthening his legs, attacking the basket and running the offense when he receives the ball out of position, such as on the wing or off a pick and roll. Crandall adds that he prides himself on his on-ball defense, but is working on being honest defensively, focusing on taking charges instead of going for the highlight-reel block.
Then, there’s also the intangible: Crandall’s self-professed love for the game.
“I love the competition, it’s a passion pretty much unmatched for anything in my life,” he said of basketball. “Freshman year, I broke my hand and missed half the season and it was the worst thing. I like having something to work for to see results, and I’ve made a lot of good friends from basketball.”
Mira Costa is not a traditional basketball powerhouse, but made it to the second round of the playoffs last year, thanks in part to Crandall’s efforts. Moving forward, Crandall hopes to win a state championship, but barring that, advance past the quarterfinals, the furthest Costa has ever gone.
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