Texas Tech media relations Clovis’ Jaye Crockett averaged five points a game for Texas Tech last season as a freshman.
By Nick Kosmider: Lubbock Avalance-Journal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jaye Crockett has to hear the excruciating reminders every day.
The sophomore forward, one of Texas Tech’s three returning players, is the second all-time leading scorer at Clovis High in New Mexico.
Who’s ahead of him? That would be longtime Tech assistant Bubba Jennings.
The difference between their scoring totals: One point.
“Every day he lets me know,” Crockett said at last month’s Big 12 media day. “One point. It’s just one more point.”
During one practice, Jennings looked on as Crockett converted a free throw.
“That’s all you needed,” Clovis’ leading scorer told the runner-up.
Jennings, in his 11th season as a Tech assistant, followed his scoring binge as a sharp-shooting prep guard with a successful career on the Red Raiders, winning Southwest Conference player of the year in 1985.
Whether the parallels between the New Mexico natives will continue is unknown, but Crockett is prepared to add to his Tech chapter.
Though he celebrated his 20th birthday last month, Crockett is already entering his third year in the program. He arrived in Lubbock as a 17-year-old freshman two seasons ago and made the decision to redshirt.
It wasn’t easy.
“It was tough sitting out a year after playing my whole life,” Crockett said. “I just looked at the team situation, with everybody that played in my position and how many seniors we had, and I felt like the next year I would be in a better position rather than coming in right out of high school.
“It was different sitting out and watching everybody play, but then it was back to regular old basketball.”
In his first taste of regular old basketball at the college level last season, Crockett averaged nearly five points per game and 13 minutes per contest. At times he showed flashes of being a dynamic player. At others, he experienced some of the struggles common for a freshman.
This offseason, Crockett has added about 12 to 15 pounds to his frame, according to Tech coach Billy Gillispie, leaving his body better prepared to take on the rigors of an 18-game Big 12 schedule.
“I think he’s going to have a very big-time year,” Gillispie said. “He’s very willing. He’s very coachable. We’re trying to figure out exactly what position he’s going to play out on the floor for us, but I know he’s going to be out there, and I expect big things from him.”
Crockett clearly has the athleticism necessary to make an impact. His gravity-defying dunk against Louisiana-Monroe was one of the indelible images of last season.
A beneficiary of Gillispie’s intense conditioning program, Crockett has also raised his fitness to a new level. Now he wants to see how it will all spill out on the court.
“It’s coming fast, but it’s not coming fast enough,” Crockett said of the Nov. 11 opener. “I’m ready to play.”
And Tech hopes he’s ready to be a clutch performer, perhaps a guy to turn to when the team needs just one more point.