7-foot center making his mark on Augusta University basketball
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Athletes can be in a unique position to inspire others and give people someone to look up to.
Being that person to look up to is even more likely.
Sometimes an athlete comes along that helps change the trajectory of a program. For the Augusta University men’s basketball team, that player is seven-foot-one center Tyshaun Crawford.
Dip Metress said, “I think if you lined up all the coaches, and they said who do you want first, you’re going to want a guy like that.”
Ja’Queze Kirby added, “Sometimes I get in trouble by Dip because when Ty (Crawford) gets into the paint, I just don’t even go in to rebound sometimes.”
Crawford started his college career at Georgia Southern, but after his freshman year, he transferred to Augusta looking for a new start.
“I always call Augusta my second chance. They gave me the building blocks to become successful. They gave me the keys to the whip, and that goes back to my seniors. They definitely just embraced me. You know, it was a process. They believed that I could be something better, they saw it in me,” he said.
The big man in the middle wasn’t always dominating the competition. Since becoming a Jaguar, he’s undergone a massive transformation.
Lisa Cummings said, “He’s gone from about 300 pounds to about 260 pounds, especially over the last two years.”
Metress added, “He committed to losing weight going into his junior year, and his weight transformation and his ability to play basketball has impacted us.”
While winning games, conference tournaments, and all of the individual accolades are cool, it’s what he does when he’s not playing basketball that’s more impressive.
Metress said, “He takes every single photo. He stops and talks to every single kid. When we’re on road trips everyone wants to take a picture with a seven-footer.”
Crawford said, “All it takes is just saying hey, or just showing them that you care. I was once a kid and I wanted somebody like that, so I just try to be what I wanted as a kid, and they look up to me, and they say they want to be like me, but I want them to be better than me.”
To say Crawford’s size 18 shoes will be hard to fill after he graduates is an understatement.
“I’m fortunate enough to put on these shoes every day and lace them up and go out there and compete, but some people don’t get to do that, and I just want everyone to not take what they’re doing for granted. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing,” he said.
The Jaguars will be back on the court at Christenberry Fieldhouse Saturday at 5 p.m. They take on Emmanuel College in the first round of the Division II NCAA tournament.
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