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Remembering Allen Crabbe

After three great years at Berkeley, 2013's Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Allen Crabbe has decided it was time to join the NBA. The CGB team sat down to remember the Cal superstar.


Vlad Belo: When I think of Allen Crabbe, the first thing that will come to mind will probably be that he is one of a now long line of Cal players who won conference player of the year honors. He joins some darn good company: Jason Kidd, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ed Gray, Sean Lampley, Jerome Randle, and Jorge Gutierrez. That he won the POTY honor in 2013 is itself a testament to Crabbe's greatness as a player.

Above and beyond that, I'll remember Crabbe as a scorer, as a guy who made Cal very difficult to beat if he was on his shooting game. And I will also remember "The Push" -- sorry, I can't help it, but I always will. But even though that incident with Coach Montgomery was infamous, I will remember how Crabbe elevated his game that night. After that, I looked at Crabbe in a different light: though I always knew he was a competitor, he showed me he was a fiery one.

norcalnick: In terms of nebulous descriptions of a player's ability, I thought Crabbe made the transition from 'shooter' to 'scorer' as a junior. His reputation always started with his ability to hit 3s, but it should be noted that Crabbe's 3 point percentage was relatively pedestrian this year at 35%, not even in the top 15 in the conference. I would guess that Crabbe could have shot a higher percentage, but when you're the undisputed go-to-guy on offense, you're probably going to be putting up more low quality shots with defenders draped all over you.

And that's what really impressed me about Allen Crabbe. Here's a quick, simple chart that distills his development as a player:

Freshman Sophomore Junior
Usage rate 18.4 21.4 25.4
Offensive efficiency 111.5 112.1 108.7

He was able to maintain his offensive efficiency despite increasingly taking a much larger role within the offense. In the Pac-12, only 7 players had a higher usage rate than Crabbe, and only one of those players had a higher efficiency (Roberto Nelson). If Crabbe shot closer to 40% from behind the arc, as he did as a freshman and sophomore, he probably places above Nelson anyway. Plenty of players carried the burden for their team on offense - few did it better than Allen.

He managed to stay so efficient despite 3 point percentage variance by doing everything else a bit better. He was better getting to the basket, he converted his shots inside the arc at a much higher rate, he drew more fouls, and he became a better passer. The rest of the Pac-12 should be very thankful he decided to head to the NBA.

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Nam Le: I'm going to remember Crabbe mostly for his 2012 season as The Man. Maddeningly inconsistent at times, sure, but it was never in question that in the post-Jorge era, Crabbe needed to succeed on most nights if the team was to have any chance. More often than not, he did. Another thing I'll remember about Crabbe is a rather sneaky athleticism - he never seemed particularly fast on the court, but he could certainly fly, and his combine numbers show a lot of that. His Pac-12 Player of the Year award was well deserved - without his run late through the season, Cal would never have made it to the Big Dance, and his hot shooting and all around great play had everything to do with it. From what I understand, he is rising up draft boards, and could be a mid first rounder. It wouldn't surprise me if he caught on and became a solid piece somewhere.

Scott Chong: Allen Crabbe was a great, great shooter from deep who worked hard to expand his game each year. He was a better than average rebounder for his position. I remember him struggling on defense as a true frosh (giving up a late 3 to Zona comes to mind), but steadily improving each year. He actually had the ability to use his length as a disruptive force at the point of our 1-2-2 zone. Unfortunately, I also remember a few lapses in defensive focus. Perhaps you could charitably say that he was conserving energy because he had to do so much to carry the team offensively.

Although he won conference PoY, part of me will think of him along with "what might have been." But for two ill-timed losses, he could have been a two-time conference title winner. Sadly enough, he didn't have his best games down the stretch. I respect the fact that he made no excuses. It didn't come out until much later that he was battling shingles and injuries for much of his sophomore campaign.

As much as it's probably a good decision for him to have declared early, I selfishly wonder how great he might have been as a senior. On a more positive note, I'll also remember his performance from the upset win over Arizona. That was one of the singular more impressive displays of a Cal player who simply would not be denied. As time passes, I hope that's what I remember most.

Vlad Belo: Scott reminds me of something I was remiss to mention earlier. Crabbe's signature performance was probably the Arizona game Cal won at McKale Center last season. Crabbe scored 19 of his 31 points in the second half and nailed four 3-pointers, including one that was part of a game-seizing four-point play that, as I recall, gave Cal a double-digit lead. If there's one game of Crabbe's I will remember apart from "The Push" game, the Zona win is it. Crabbe and Justin Cobbs both were incredible in the second half of that game.

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What are your favorite memories of Allen Crabbe? How are you going to remember him as he heads to the NBA?