By Nthabiseng Mushi
If the name Marvin Crawford Jr. does not ring a bell, it should, and here’s why. He’s a soft spoken 20 year old Business Liberal Arts sophomore from Edison, NJ, who also happened to lead the Raritan Valley Community College men’s basketball team to their first NJCAA Division ll final.
The oldest of three boys, Crawford Jr. started playing basketball when he was five years old. After being coached by his father Marvin Crawford Sr. from Harlem, NY, and playing in many AAU teams, Crawford Jr. began taking the game seriously in the 7 grade. At the time he was a 5’3” point guard, who in reference to his height, jokingly added, “All I could do was make layups.”
Things started evolving during his junior/senior years of high school; he went on to play for the NJ Cardinals Elite Basketball Club, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team that traveled to Florida to compete in the National Championship, where they fell just short of winning it. It was after that tournament when his AAU coach introduced him to the Golden Lions family to possibly play for the new men’s basketball team.
Crawford Jr. was the first player to sign with RVCC in 2012, leading a new era for the school. Along with a new head coach, Kevin Ryan, the Golden Lions became a new team that went from a 10-17 record in 2012, to a 20-6 record this season. In that first season not only did Crawford Jr. get offers to transfer to four year colleges with a full ride, he made All Region and All Conference teams.
However, this final season at RVCC was bitter sweet. Although he averaged 21 points per game, the passing of his grandmother in January of 2014 caused both him and his family to struggle to get back into gear. “I remember losing to Delaware Tech and Union. It was hard to focus after her passing,” said Crawford Jr.
He decided to dedicate his final season for the Golden Lions to his grandmother by putting up big numbers, carrying his team and taking them to the regional finals. He continues to get offers from the likes of Holy Family University in Philadelphia and Queens College in New York. “I want to fit into a team, not take a team on my shoulders,” said Crawford.
This diligent young man will be graduating this summer and moving on to greener postures as a two time All Region and All Conference player, 1st Team All American and NJCAA Player of the Year, 2014. Will we be seeing the name Marvin Crawford Jr. in a professional league? According to Amanda Demartino, RVCC’s Athletic Director, “All we can do is wait and see where this young star will shine next. But as for RVCC, he will surely be missed.”
This article was edited on May 3, 2014.