College Basketball Insider

The Pac-12's top scorer deserves more attention than he's getting

Allen Crabbe was in the middle of a 31-point performance last Sunday that lifted California to an upset win at Arizona and subsequently earned him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors when CollegeBasketballTalk's Rob Dauster tweeted:

I thought all three of those points were reasonable because Crabbe (a), doesn't get much attention (b), can really, really score and (c), is fun to watch. So I got in touch with the junior wing and asked why he thinks the Pac-12's leading scorer is mostly off of college basketball's radar. Is it because he's never advanced in the NCAA Tournament? Is it because he plays for a team that's been unranked all season? Is it because most of his weeknight games start no earlier than 9 p.m. ET?

"The West Coast just doesn't get that much exposure," Crabbe told me by phone. "The East Coast gets more exposure than the West Coast."

Though the Lakers are an obvious exception, that statement is mostly true ... especially when it comes to college basketball, if only because most national college basketball writers don't live on the West Coast. Take our staff, for instance. I live in the Central time zone. Jeff Goodman, Jeff Borzello and Matt Norlander live in the Eastern time zone. (And our staff is like most staffs from other major sports websites). Consequently, we don't get out West as much as we stay East. Me? I've only been to three games on the West Coast this season -- Nevada at UNLV, Illinois at Gonzaga and UNLV at California. And the UNLV-California game happened to be a game UNLV won at the buzzer after Mike Moser was injured. So I wrote about the Rebels and Moser's shoulder, and I don't think I even mentioned Crabbe at all.

Which is unfortunate.

Because he's worth mentioning.

And he's also worth watching -- tonight on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET when California hosts UCLA at Haas Pavilion. The 6-foot-6 Los Angeles native is averaging 19.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists for a Cal team that's won three of its past four games and is just a half-game out of fourth in the Pac-12 standings heading into Thursday night's showdown against his hometown school that Crabbe said never really recruited him that hard. Yes, that last fact used to motivate Crabbe, and it might be why he's 3-2 against the Bruins in his career and averaging 16.0 points and 6.0 rebound against them. But now, he swears, he's over it. Now he just wants to put California back in a position to reach another NCAA Tournament.

"It's a good opportunity for us," Crabbe told me. "I feel like if we play like we did on Sunday [against Arizona] then we've got a good chance to be a good team. When we pay attention to detail on the offensive and defensive ends, we're a hard team to beat, and, if we play like that, we can make some noise the rest of the season."

 
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