Jae Crowder: Path to the NBA, 5/14

Miami’s beaches have been the source of Jae Crowder’s most therapeutic moments preparing for the NBA Draft, as well as his most challenging ones.

Following the completion of his final exams last week, Crowder left Milwaukee for Miami, where he had spent the last two months for weekend workouts at the Athletes Edge Sports Performance Training.

But the Big East Player of the Year has not had much time to enjoy the weather. Between two workouts per day, beginning at either 8 or 10 a.m., and lasting until 3:30 p.m., Crowder stays hard at work throughout the week.

“It feels better on my body and mind, and makes your day go a lot smoother,” Crowder said of the permanent move to Miami. “I’m really just sharpening up my skills, and I feel like I’ve gotten better.”

Crowder has split his days into two different sessions: one with ball handling and shooting and the other with agility and speed drills. The on-court workouts have not changed much since Crowder began training, but last week he got his first taste of beach workouts.

At the end of each week, Crowder takes to the beach with other athletes training at Athletes Edge and does a two-hour agility workout in the sand.

“At first I was like, ‘How bad could it be?’ But all the beach work is challenging,” Crowder said. “All the lateral movement you have to do, along with pro agility drill and cone drill, all of that stuff is tough. You have to get in and out of your cuts, which sets the tone when you do it back on the court. It becomes easier.”

But as challenging as the beach has been in one sense, Crowder has also found it to be a time of reflection and relaxation in between training.

Sunday night, Crowder turned down a chance to play pick-up basketball with Brandon Knight and other NBA and International players who had returned to Miami for the off-season.

Instead, he took his girlfriend out to dinner. After, he walked along the beach with her; the same beach that two days earlier had been the location of a physically and mentally straining workout.

“I just think about everything, because that’s the only time I have away from basketball,” Crowder said Sunday night. “9 a.m. tomorrow I’ll be back on the court, so this weekend was the only weekend I really had off away from basketball, and I think it helps free up my mind.”

Crowder also has taken time to reflect on his unique path, from an out-of-shape high school senior point guard with little Division I interest to a potential first round NBA Draft pick.

“I sit on the balcony and I think about everything really,” Crowder said. “I think about this past year and all the years before Marquette, and everything goes back in your mind. I just want to take it one day at a time, and I have to take it one day at a time. Because when everything hits the ground running I have to make sure I’m the best individual I can be.”

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