There aren’t many high schools in the country who have two graduates playing at a high level in the NBA.
But Crossroads of Santa Monica can make that claim. Baron Davis is an all-NBA guard with the Golden State Warriors and Austin Croshere is a pro basketball veteran who has played his entire nine-year career with the Indiana Pacers and will be with the Dallas Mavericks this season following a trade.
Croshere is a 6-foot-10 forward and an adept outside shooter. He signed a new contract after doing well in the 2000 NBA Finals and has one year remaining at $7 million.
The Pacers altered their roster following a disappointing season and swapped Croshere for Marquee Daniels, a smaller and more athletic player.
The Mavericks, who were in the NBA Finals last season, wanted Croshere as a backup to Dirk Nowitzki. Keith Van Horn, who had the job last season, was a free agent.
The Mavericks got past the San Antonio Spurs in a hotly-contested playoff series, won the first two games of the NBA Finals from the Miami Heat, then lost four straight.
Failing to win their first NBA championship was a disappointment to the Mavericks and their fans, but it was quite an accomplishment to defeat the perennially-strong Spurs.
Croshere will give the Mavericks another scoring option. He averaged 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last season with the Pacers. In an April game against the Boston Celtics he scored 20 points, making four three-pointers.
Nine years ago I learned first-hand about Croshere’s character. I had arranged an interview with him on a Lakers’ visit to Indiana with the Pacers’ publicity staff and was told to be courtside at 5 p.m., 2 1/2-hours before the game.
Croshere, who wasn’t getting much playing time, would get in a brief workout and join me.
I was on time. Croshere and some other reserves got in their work. But just as they were finishing an assistant coach came out of the locker room and told them to stay. He proceeded to put them through a strenuous workout to the surprise of everyone.
Forty minutes later Croshere was sweating profusely and I started to leave.
“Hey, just give me a minute and I’ll be back,” he said. “I grew up reading the local papers in Santa Monica. I want to do this.”
And, so, I had my interview.