EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At the end of May a set of local twins, Eve and Maryam Crawford, set off to Colorado Springs to try out for the USA U-17 Women’s National Basketball team. The twins were two of just 139 girls selected from across the country to make a roster of only 12.
The Crawfords have lived in East Brunswick and went to East Brunswick High School their freshman year before transferring to Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville. As sophomores both girls played in 18 games while the team won the Mercer County Tournament for the first time ever in school history. The team continued through to the quarter-finals of the Non-Public South A before falling to Red Bank Catholic in a close game.
Just about a month after the loss, the girls received an e-mail from USA basketball inviting them to try out for the national team heading into the FIBA World Championships. Once there, the twins were run through drills, practices, and 3 on 3 games to showcase their abilities.
When looking back at the experience, Eve said, “iIt was a great opportunity to train with some of the best players and coaches in the country. While we were there I learned how to be better on the court and picked up some new drills to bring back with me.”
Maryam echoed these thoughts and also saw it as an opportunity to improve while making new friends in the basketball world. Both girls are excited to take back the knowledge they gained at the tryouts to their AAU and high school teams. While it was a great opportunity to increase their own skill sets, the twins are always looking to improve the team as a whole and push everyone to be their best.
As well as learning new skills and drills, the twins focused on improving ball movement around the court and positioning. Bringing these ideas back to Notre Dame will be easy for them due to the program running a similar offense that was used on the court at tryouts. This familiarity with the system aided the girls and specifically Eve as she made it past the first cut as one of the top 100 players at the tryout.
Even though neither Crawford made the official roster the rest of the summer is no break for them. They are now on the AAU team the Philadelphia Belles and will be traveling around the country throughout July in tournaments. The team will start at the USJN Premier Showcase in Baltimore, Maryland from July 6-8 before finishing up at the Blue Star Nationals Invitational in Augusta, Georgia from July 27-29.
This time period is extremely important for the girls’ future because July is the only open period where college coaches are allowed to watch and scout them. The Crawfords still have two more years in high school, but this period of open evaluation is critical in becoming recruited by the top schools in the country. According to NCAA regulations, no contact between the school and the athletes is allowed but scouting at these tournaments is regular practice.
Both Eve and Maryam are excited to get back to work for their AAU and high school teams, but are coming back with greater expectations now. As their coach, James Martinos, preaches throughout the season, it is extremely important to “take it one practice at a time and one game at a time.”
With that in mind, the girls are set to come back this winter and continue to improve on their personal skills and drive team success.
Notre Dame High School lost two key players to graduation this year, giving the Crawford twins more room to make their mark on the team. There is currently a large group of rising seniors ahead of the pair; however, they are ready to step up and take on the responsibilities necessary to bring the team back to the championship.