Sleeper Report: Paul Crosby (Mississippi Valley State)

By James Blackburn

Paul Crosby basketball
Photo Credit: ESPN

Game Scouted: Miss. Valley vs. UNC

Stats
3-13 FG, 6 TP, 3 reb, 1 blk, 1 st
Box score

Strengths
Big body. strong, knows how to use body and throw weight around. Plays hard and hustles. Solid rebounder, who uses body to shield and box out opponent. Good footwork, especially in mid post area, where he loves to operate – loves to catch ball at 15’ range- reverse pivot and play- can jab step and shoot or he can use his versatility and go around defender. Very agile and mobile for size (close to 250 lbs). Good shooter, despite low shooting percentage this game. Has the ability to shoot the 3 and to create own shot. Even displayed a couple of step back 3’s, which are not in every PF’s arsenal at this level. Good form, rotation, and arc on shot- very soft touch. Good pick and pop guy. Good passer for big man. Above average defender with quick hands for a man of his size. Contests shots- had a nice block on Tyler Zeller in first few minutes of the game. Better on ball defender post defender than anything else. Big body that clogs up lane/space on defense.

Weaknesses
Foul prone – fouled out this game with several minutes remaining (Is averaging 4 fouls a game through the first 4 games this season- to his credit he had several calls against him that were questionable). Tries to do too much at times-tries to make passes/plays that are not there-TO prone- needs to improve shot selection. Plays under the rim- not very athletic. Got beat down the floor on more than one occasion by either Zeller or Henson. Needs to improve back to basket game- missed some easy shots- looked to be in a hurry in low post- did fine in mid post. Once he slowed down, he was OK.

Overview
Ranked #1 PF coming out of HS in Michigan, where he averaged 18ppg, 10 rpg, and 3 bpg at Holt HS. Originally signed to play at Toledo, but didn’t academically qualify. Went to Navarro JC- then had a brief stop at Binghamton, before landing at Miss. Valley.

Paul is a work horse at both ends of the floor- is very effective in high post area and is skilled enough to score on just about anyone from the 15-18’ area of the floor. I think the Tar Heels length with Zeller and Henson bothered Crosby a little- but he was able to play good defense by using strength to keep them from easy scores. More of a high post/perimeter player offensively and a low post/interior defender. Tweener b/c of size- Good enough rebounder and strong enough to play a 5- but because of height and length- not able to play 5 at next level. Has the ability to shoot the ball and spread the court as a 4, but is not athletic enough and too slow laterally to play and guard a 4. He is currently averaging 8 ppg and 4 rpg this season, but averaged 12 ppg and 7 rpg last season. He is a better player than his numbers show. Look for him to turn things on and improve his stats as the season progresses.

Has another year to improve game*. Not an NBA hopeful or even D-League for that matte r- but will definitely be earning a paycheck through basketball. His size and his ability to shoot the basketball will make him very appealing to European teams. A player to watch as he finishes his college career and then takes his talents across the water.

* Crosby is listed as a Senior on the Mississippi Valley roster, but may be a Junior. We are following up to clarify.

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