New point man a key to UW men’s basketball success

Washington guard David Crisp (1) drives between Arizona guard Kobi Simmons (2) and Rawle Alkins (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

When Mike Hopkins took the reigns of the Washington Husky basketball program, one of the first things he did was tell shooting guard David Crisp he was going to be the point man; sacrificing points for the overall good of the team.

“For us it’s David’s leadership. It’s his ability to get us in our offense, how he comes to practice every day and competes, ” said coach Hopkins of Crisp’s new and important role. “I told him, 'Buddy, I’m asking a lot of you: Play 37 minutes, challenge on defense, be the heart and soul of this team.' "

Crisp played some point guard in high school and filled in during Markelle Fultz’s injury last season.

“He (Hopkins) had a good feel of how everybody played and how the team would be when he first got here. Then he told me for us to be successful, this is what I’m going to have to do,” explained Crisp.

The 6-foot junior from Tacoma is still the third-leading scorer for the 11-and-4 Huskies. At the top of U-Dub’s 2-3 zone defense Crisp has come up with 23 steals, tied for the team lead with Matisse Thybulle. He’s doled out 52 assists, but turned the ball over 39 times. Decision-making is a key element of Crisp’s job.

“A game can switch instantly, the snap of a finger can change momentum. Teams can go on a 10-0 run, and you need to know when to calm your team down,” said Crisp. “You’ve go to know how to get your team into the best shot. There’s definitely been a lot of mental side to it, watching film and understanding everything.”

Hopkins is pleased with Crisp’s growth, with obvious room for improvement.

“He’s done a heck of a job so far and keeps getting better. That’s what I love about him, he’s taken the challenge. He’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, none of us are perfect. But he’s been making winning plays, and I’m very happy with what he’s doing.”

Apple Cup of the Hardwood

Washington takes its 1-1 Pac-12 record into Pullman for a Saturday afternoon rival game against 0-2 Washington State. The 8 -6 Cougars lead the conference in three-point field goals at 12 per game. Tacoma native Malachi Flynn and Robert Franks from Vancouver, Washington are among the top long-range shooters in the league.

Tip off is 1 p.m. with pre-game coverage starting at 12:30 Saturday on KOMO newsradio am 1000/ fm 97.7. Tony Castricone and Jason Hamilton have the call in the first of two Apple Cups on the hardwood this season.

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