At tiny Los Angeles Price, a school of kindergarten through 12th grade in the sprawling Crenshaw Christian Center, Allen Crabbe is the boy everyone has seen grow up before their eyes.
His grandfather, the Rev. Frederick K.C. Price, is the founder of the school. Crabbe has been a Price ball boy or student seemingly forever. When Price was winning five state Division V basketball championships in the last decade, he was preparing for his chance to join in the fun.
Now he has grown to 6 feet 6, makes three-point baskets as if they were free throws and has the skills to win any dunk contest. He also has a 3.5 grade-point average, has signed with California and has developed into one of the best players in the state.
"He's a zero-maintenance kid," Coach Michael Lynch said. "He's constantly in the gym. I don't ever have to think about him."
Crabbe has always been able to shoot and score, but he grew two inches and gained 10 pounds since his junior year, and the added strength has elevated his game. He is averaging 23 points and nearly 11 rebounds in leading Price to a 22-2 record with one week remaining in the regular season.
"Adding that strength to his game has really taken it to another level," Lynch said. "His mid-range game has just blown up. He's posting smaller people, where he wouldn't in the past. His game has just blossomed."
Said Crabbe: "It gives you more confidence when you know you have that strength to go up against other opponents."
In recent weeks, Crabbe has scored 38 points twice, against Ventura and Los Angeles Crenshaw. But it's his leadership that Lynch has appreciated most.
"When we've needed him to come through, he's been telling the team, 'Come on, guys, we can do this,' " Lynch said.
There's no better example for what a teenager can accomplish when combining athletics and academics than Crabbe, who has used his twin focus to put himself in position to have a bright future.
Talking about his many years attending Price, Crabbe said, "It's like a big family. You have teachers who care for you and always want you to do good and succeed in life. They're always on top of you, even if it's a little homework assignment you missed. They emphasize it's very important to get your work done, because you can have sports but without an education, you can't do anything."
While Price is heavily favored to win a Southern Section Division 4AA championship, the Knights won't consider it a successful season without a state title.
"Everybody's hungry," Crabbe said. "We've been to the game before the state championship and come up short."
After the jump Ted Miller looks ahead to the 2010 season, basketball continues to be respected by the computers, and the rest of Cal sports enjoy a relatively successful weekend.
- Former Cal LB Scott Fujita was part of the Super Bowl-winning Saints squad. Even more impressive was his suggestion to run the "Ram-1" blitz, which was the play that led to the game-sealing pick-six. (HT oskigobears)
- Ted Miller picks Trajuan Briggs as Cal's newcomer to watch this season. I'm a bit surprised he didn't pick Keenan Allen or Chris Martin. We'll see during spring practice if Briggs can surpass DeBo and Yarnway. Of all the newcomers, I wouldn't be surprised if Martin has the biggest impact.
- Tyson Alualu comes in at 14th in Ted Miller's top-30 Pac-10 players of 2009.
- Ted Miller says Syd's role will be the biggest vacancy for Cal next season. Will Hill, Nnabufie, or Hagan be able to fill it?
- Lunardi's bracketology features Cal as the lone Pac-10 participant in the Big Dance. And, as has been the case all season, Cal garners no votes from the humans but earns some respect from the robots. Cal is 26th in the RPI ratings and 35th in the Sagarin computer poll. I, for one, welcome out new robot overlords.
- Faraudo recaps another bizarre weekend of Pac-10 basketball.
The Rest of the Weekend in Cal Sports
- Cal rugby's match against Chico State was cancelled because Chico State's field was deemed unfit.
- No. 4 men's swimming defeated USC 158-136.
- Men's tennis defeated Hawaii 6-1.
- No. 4 women's water polo defeated no. 5 UCLA and no. 9 ASU at the Stanford Invitational. They followed that up with a win over no. 3 Hawaii but ultimately lost to no. 1 Stanford.