LOGAN – Because of plans to serve an LDS mission, Utah State basketball recruit Crew Ainge probably wont be playing college basketball for at least a couple of years, but the 5-foot-11 point guard and son of Boston Celtics executive and former BYU star Danny Ainge has already been able to practice with the team and experience a little bit of Aggie life this summer. He finished workouts with the team last week and flew back home to New Hampshire Wednesday.
While in Logan, Ainge said he became good friends with his teammates after working out with them everyday. The friendships grew off the court as well. While not in the gym, the guys were doing what many Aggie students do in summer, hanging out around town and participating in outdoor adventures such as cliff jumping at Porcupine Reservoir and floating down the Oneida River.
“I love the guys on the team right now,” he said. “I’m pretty close to all of them, I’m kind of bummed I wont get to play with some of them.”
The same thing that will keep him off the court until 2017 is the same thing that helped bring him to USU. He said the LDS culture of the Logan area was a big factor in his decision to play as an Aggie.
Another major factor was a trip he took to Utah in 2010 with his father. They traveled to Logan to scout Weber State guard Damian Lillard, who was playing against the Aggies.
“It was packed,” Ainge said of the Spectrum. “Then I said I wanted to go Utah State, after that game, ever since then.”
A few years later, when Ainge was a sophomore in high school, the recruiting began. According to Ainge, Tim Duryea, who was a USU assistant coach at the time, attended some of his high school games. Now Duryea is the head coach and Ainge said he loves the way he talks of the direction he wants to take the program.
“He’s a great guy,” Ainge said. “I trust him.”
So what can Aggie fans expect to see when Ainge finally laces up his sneakers and takes the court in 2017? According to Ainge, they’ll see someone who is “scrappy,” someone who is “tough” and someone who despite being 5-foot-11, led his high school team in rebounds.
“I love running pick-and-rolls,” he said. “I’ll find the open man, I’ll make the right play. I love getting loose balls, I’ll knock down shots.”
In a release from USU’s athletic department, Duryea said similar things about his new recruit.
“Crew’s basketball knowledge is well beyond his years and he has been exposed to the game at a high level in his young life,” he said. “He can really run a team from the point guard position and he is excellent in the pick and roll game at making plays for his teammates or himself. Aggie fans will love Crew’s passion and competitiveness.
There is one game in particular Ainge is looking forward to when he returns. It’s the one in Provo. The one where he and his teammates will take on BYU on the same court where his father and brother spent their collegiate basketball years.
“Right when I get off my mission I think we play at BYU,” he said. “And I have no hard feelings for BYU, I know a ton of people there. I’ve been on campus a bunch, I love those games, but I think it will be really fun to go and play there and compete against them.”
Ainge said his missionary application papers will be submitted August 1st. He will find out shortly after where he will be assigned to go.