PRINCETON — Bluefield High School’s Pistol Pete of a point guard with a hip-hop hoopster’s shooting rhythm stands out in a talented crowd. Because when it all comes down to it, there is only one Braeden Crews.
Crews, who led the Beavers to the Class AA state semifinals this past season, was named the Bluefield Daily Telegraph Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“It’s really and truly a blessing to get this award ... with all the stuff happening this year and being able to play through it,” said Crews, referring to the Bluefield High School community’s tragic loss of classmate Tony Webster, Jr., son of longtime Beavers assistant coach Tony Webster.
The junior guard led Bluefield to a 22-3 record by scoring 23.4 points per game and was named to the Class AA boys basketball all-state first team by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association March 22.
He has a great all-around game, like most of this years BDT Player of the Year candidates. But as a shooter he has been in a class all by himself.
“He had five games with 35 points and he had one game against Princeton where he had 54. He was 7-of-7 from the 3-point line. At one time in the last part of the season, he’d hit 16-of-16 from the free throw line,” said Bluefield boys head basketball coach Buster Large.
Crews does what a true leader and captain on the court should do in helping all his teammates play at a high level.
This year was the eighth straight time that Bluefield made the state tournament, but the first in five years where it advanced past the opening round. Crews was a main reason, scored 20 points along with four assists, five rebounds and three steals in the win over Poca.
Crews can score from all over the court but his ability to make 3-pointers can lead to big scoring games from him like a 45 point game against Princeton December 15.
He is not just a scorer as he can rebound, assist his teammates and get steals on the defensive side.
Next year, Crews and Bluefield will be looking to make it one step further than they did this season to the state final. Large certainly knows his star guard will be working for that goal.
“Oh, he’s the kind of kid you almost have to run off from practice. He’s going to be in there shooting all day and playing all day,” Large said.
While only a junior, he’s already received the offer of a full-ride basketball scholarship from NCAA Division II University of Charleston. He’s on the recruiting radar of Marshall, East Tennessee State and several other Division I programs and has been invited to the Scouts Focus basketball camp this summer
“I have a few schools talking to me but I’m waiting on my test scores to get back so I can send them up to them. That’s what they’ve been asking about,” Crews said.
In the meantime he’ll just keep doing what he’s been doing: working to get better.
“I’m going to be working on my defense. And just lifting more weights,” Crews said.
— George Thwaites contributed to this story