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March 11, 2013

Crabbe weighing his options

Oh, to have Allen Crabbe's worries.

A student-athlete at one of the world's premier learning institutions, standing 6-6 and blessed with perhaps the nation's purest shooting stroke, and now, the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Crabbe must soon decide whether to remain Campus King or leave school early for NBA riches.

Like I said, excruciating.

But if there's something every Cal-grad can empathize with, it's the mark Berkeley has left on the junior.

"In high school, I didn't want to leave my hometown," the Los Angeles-native told GoldenBearReport last Thursday. "But I was put here by God and I've been given the opportunity to see other cities -- places like Berkeley that are very unique -- and go to class with people who are going to have success doing all kinds of different things."

Continued Crabbe, "I think about if I do leave early, am I going to miss what I have now? Do I want to continue to live the college life?"

Be it this year or next, leaving is something the talented guard will have to face, so Crabbe spent the summer expanding his game.

"I knew that I was going to have to work in the offseason on areas I wasn't comfortable with," said Crabbe. "I went home for a week and then came right back. I had never stayed in Berkeley for the entire summer."

The decision to stay in the Bay Area has paid dividends.

Crabbe -- who says he focused on "putting the ball on the floor and getting to the free throw line" -- has the Bears riding a wave of late-season victories that may ultimately quicken their star player's departure.

"I didn't want to come to college and just win games," remarked Crabbe. "I wanted to go to the NCAA Tournament and see what we could do there."

The "we," of course, is Crabbe's teammates, who've supplied their own advice to the league's top scorer.

"We talk about it," admits Crabbe. "But I tell them what I tell everyone else: that I haven't made a decision yet. I don't want to bring any distractions to our team."

Avoiding distraction, however, is easier said than done.

Lately, NBA personnel have become about as inconspicuous at Haas Pavilion as Cal's mascot, Oski. At any one game, you'll find representatives from half a dozen teams in the league, some visiting for the double-digit time.

"I see the [NBA] people who come to our practices or are at the game, but I have to block them out," notes Crabbe. "If I'm out there trying to impress them, then it's not going to turn out well for me or the team. I just realize that with team success, other success will come."

Considering the Bears' recent hot streak, credit No. 23 with ignoring his evaluators.

For what it's worth, those assessing Crabbe's talent have two burning questions: is he tough enough and can he create his own shot?

"He can definitely shoot," one scout told GoldenBearReport on the condition of anonymity, "but is he physical enough? That's what I'm trying to figure out. Is he tough enough?"

And though Crabbe admits to hearing his detractors, he's not paying them much attention, at the moment.

"I'll sit down with my parents at the end of the season," he says. "Right now, I'm here for the team. Everything else is out of my hands."

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