Braeden Crews...

Bluefield’s Braeden Crews (5) drives the basketball versus a Shady Spring defender during sectional play at Ralph Ball Court this past season. Crews recently signed to play his colllege basketball at Bluefield State College.

BLUEFIELD — Braeden Crews has made his mark on basketball in Bluefield over the last three years as the Bluefield High School point guard. He will continue to do so at the college level.

The senior has signed to play college basketball at Bluefield State, which plays a similar style as to what Crews excelled in with the Beavers.

“I just feel like it was the best fit for me because they play the same type of ball our high school plays and I’m close with both of the coaches they’ve got right now and I’m at home,” Crews said.

Crews was named to the Class AA All-State first team by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association for his final two high school seasons after being an honorable mention his sophomore year.

With Crews running the point, Bluefield High scored over 79 points a game in the 2019-20 season which led to 21 wins and all five starters scoring in double figures.

Bluefield State averaged just over 80 points a game this past season and plays an up-tempo style just like Bluefield High.

“I know I can do what I’m best at playing fast and that’s the style Bluefield State plays,” Crews said.

Big Blues head coach Derrick Price expects Crews to be a contributor in his freshman season as he has the skill set to play at the collegiate level.

“He competes at a very high level, his IQ is off the charts so we’re going to look for Braeden to come in and play right away,” Price said.

For Price, the best way for players like Crews to improve is to get minutes in games against talented players who have more experience.

“The only way you can get better in my book is by going out there and playing and competing against the guys that’s better than you so we expect him to come in and put his hard hat on and go to work,” Price said.

The Big Blues will return a number of their key scorers from last year, with Crews expected to play the role of distributor in some games and a key scorer in others.

Bluefield High boys basketball head coach Buster Large has seen Braeden Crews put in all the work throughout the years to be able to play college basketball and expects him to make an impact at his alma mater.

“I look for big things to happen the next four years for him at Bluefield State and I think the area fans will get a big kick out of going out and watching him play because his talent is unlimited,” Large said.

When recruiting Crews, Price saw a player who could play at the next level with his focus on doing whatever was needed to win each game, whether it be to score or be a distributor.

“One thing that I’ve seen about Braeden Crews was that his determination to win and his skill level was definitely higher than normal so that stuck out to us,” Price said.

In his junior season Crews averaged 23.4 points a game including a number of games over 30 points as he focus on scoring.

His senior season he averaged 19.7 points with teams setting up their defensive plans to prevent him from scoring.

“Most teams in high school wouldn’t let me shoot a lot so I knew I had to drive and attack the rim more but I feel comfortable scoring from anywhere on the court,” Crews said.

There were a number of games where Crews scored at will in his senior season but he did not force shots with a talented team around him.

In the section title game against Shady Spring Crews only scored three points in the first half but with his teammates requiring their own attention he found open space to score 19 second half points.

“It’s just really whatever the defensive game plan against me is I go with so I don’t force a lot, I just let the game come to me,” Crews said.

When the Beavers needed Crews to take over he could like when they handed the Tigers their first loss of the season. A trio of three-pointers by Crews extinguished the deficit at the start of the third quarter and gave Bluefield the momentum it needed to come out victorious.

Heading to college, Crews is focused on helping the Big Blues continue improving.

“It’s my goal just to get the work in and go in and make a statement to let everybody know that Bluefield State is coming back,” Crews said.

Getting Crews to sign with the Big Blues was part of a big goal for Price of signing local talent. High school teammate Tyrese Hairston has also signed to play for Bluefield State.

“That’s our number goal for Bluefield State College ... to fill it up with some of this local talent we have around the area,” Price said.

— Contact sports@bdtonline.com

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