Backcourt pair brings Southwestern to forefront Eaddy, Crawford spark No. 8 Sabers

January 03, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Staff Writer

It is said that basketball has become a big man's sport, but that's not the case at Southwestern, where guards have been the main focus of its success.

Haywood Eaddy and Dion Crawford are helping the Sabers return to prominence.

"They have playing together or against each other for a long time," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette. "They are starting to respect each other a little more. One will take the lead and the other will stand back. They are starting to work together."

Eaddy, a 5-foot-8 junior point guard, has a strong build and a shooting touch to match.

Crawford is a slender, 6-2 senior shooting guard who is a slick ballhandler and is interchangeable with his backcourt partner.

After an 8-11 campaign in 1991-92, Southwestern is 7-2 and ranked eighth in the area. Eaddy averages 18.3 points, a team best, plus 7.0 assists and 3.5 steals, and Crawford is averaging 14.0 points and 6.0 assists.

Eaddy likes to prove his size isn't a negative.

"I don't think [my size] is a weakness," he said. "A lot of people take that as a weakness, but I don't."

"When you're small, everything you do is noticed because you're expected not to. I always look at the positives and not the negatives."

Crawford gets so intense during a game that he sometimes forgets to listen to his coach.

"At times, I run the point because of my size and can see the court better," he said. "My weakness is I don't listen to my coach as much as I should, but now, I think I'm getting better."

Crawford's and Eaddy's maturation in the backcourt has indicated the step up that Southwestern has taken this season. Last year, Southwestern opened with seven straight wins, three to teams ranked in The Baltimore Sun's Top 20.

Then the Sabers only won one game the rest of the season, but one of those losses went a long way toward helping them start to believe that they had a bright future.

Last February, Southwestern played host to Dunbar and while many expected a Poets rout, the Sabers played even with the eventual national champions for 3 1/2 quarters before finally succumbing, 91-79.

"We definitely played well in the first seven games," Eaddy said.

"We played the same way throughout the season, but during the end of the game, we would make mental mistakes. Now, we're maturing as a team and we look forward to a big game and that challenge that comes with it."

The Sabers met one of those challenges Dec. 18, when they defeated Southern, 82-72.

That victory preceded a 52-50 win over Carver in which they rallied from a six-point deficit with over three minutes remaining in regulation.

Despite losing to Lake Clifton, 89-69, in the semifinals of the Mervo Holiday Hoop Festival last Wednesday, the Sabers played well in a 62-53 victory over Eastern (D.C.) and in a 58-53 loss to Potomac, one of the Washington area's perennial top teams and a state Class 3A finalist last season.

"A lot of people don't give Southwestern respect," said Crawford, who has received letters from Maryland, Syracuse, Loyola and Mount St. Mary's. "Since we're winning these games and playing well, we can't afford to slack up. We just go out there and play one game at a time."

Since the 1984-85 season, when Rudy Archer (Allegany Community College, Maryland, St. Mary's College of Texas) and Dwayne Chase (Massachusetts) led Southwestern to a 13-3 mark, the school has only produced one winning season, 8-7 in 1985-86.

Crawford and Eaddy were just beginning junior high, but they remember the names from playing in the Bentalou Recreation League.

They have spent most of their time together in the same backcourt since age 8.

When it came time to go to high school, Eaddy went to City, but transferred to Southwestern at the end of his freshman year. Crawford came to Southwestern because of Leverette, who was also his teacher at Francis Scott Key Junior High and the junior varsity coach at Southwestern at the time.

"We always had talent at Southwestern," said Leverette, who is in his second season.

"We never had the mix, though, but this year, we have the mix. Last year, it was a young mix. This year, they are maturing and learning how to win."

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