Wearing a white Nike headband that evokes images from the past, 14-year-old Lynwood High’s Jason Crowe Jr. hardly resembled the freshman phenomenon his followers bragged about.
He had zero points when the first quarter came to an end. Lynwood’s trainer and Crowe’s father, Jason Sr., sat his son on the bench to rest and think. Something was wrong. He was lazy, not aggressive or intense.
As the second quarter began, it was as if Crowe had just emerged from the corner during a boxing match after receiving a pep talk from his trainer. He suddenly looked refreshed and rejuvenated. He went into attack mode on both offense and defense. At his wiry 6ft 3 and long arms, he doesn’t have the strength of a senior, but all the moves and instincts fans were raving about were suddenly on display.
He would score 39 points in the last three quarters of a Beverly Hills Tournament loss and leave no doubt that this is a teenager still learning the game but with skills few his age have matched.
Before the tournament was over last month, he added 43-point and 46-point games against opponents who knew they had to stop him. He’s averaging 36.3 points per game this season, with a high of 51. He had 45 points against Long Beach Poly on Saturday night.
It’s amazing how effectively he scores on drives when his power is still developing. You can only imagine what he’ll be like in a matter of months as maturity kicks in and strength training allows him to absorb contact and fly through the track like he’s a trapeze artist. He reminds some of Marcus LoVett Jr., who fielded a big number at Providence Burbank. Others mention the great Raymond Lewis, a 1960s playground legend from South Los Angeles.
“His skill level is very high, but he’s learning to play basketball,” said his father, a former standout at Inglewood High and Cal State Northridge. “It’s a pleasure to watch him.”
As the basketball season rolls into January and league play begins, it’s clear Crowe is part of an impressive class of freshmen that are making an immediate impact at the varsity level.
There is also Tajh Ariza from Playa del Rey St. Bernard, Alijah Arenas from Chatsworth, Che Brogan from Santa Ana Mater Dei, Kaiden Bailey from Irvine Crean Lutheran, Joe Sterling from Encino Crespi, Brayden Kyman from Santa Margarita, Maximo Adams from Harbor City Narbonne, Zachary White of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Dominique Bentho of Studio City Harvard-Westlake and Joseph Riggins of Ontario Colony. This is exceptional talent from the Class of 2026. Ariza and Arenas are the sons of former NBA players.
Equally impressive is the fact that some are already successful from the free-throw line, a fundamental skill that is sometimes forgotten. Bailey was 13 of 13 on free throws in a game earlier this season. Crowe scored 10 out of 11.
“It really helps me get to the free-throw line and attack the rim,” Crowe said.
Crowe played his father in the backyard for years. He also received advice from his father’s good friend Paul Pierce, the Hall of Famer, who came to one of his Beverly Hills games.
“I always love that he comes to my games and gives me advice,” Crowe said.
The fact that Crowe won’t turn 15 until July makes him one of the youngest freshmen in high school basketball at a time when parents are holding their kids back so they’re 16-year-old freshmen and more physically fit for varsity basketball to be ready. Except that Crowe, who sometimes looks like LaMelo Ball, couldn’t be held back when, as a 14-year-old freshman at Chino Hills, he played with a fearlessness against older, stronger players at varsity.
“It’s fun. I like the challenge,” Crowe said.
Crowe seems to have a great support system, with his mom and dad making sure grades matter while also being humble and a team player.
“I like this new era of parenting where I see the grades every day,” said Jason Sr. “We’re trying to get straight A’s this semester.”
Good grades and good basketball can lead to an unlimited future for Jason Jr., who may be 14 but inspires excitement among those who recognize his talent, passion and dedication.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2023-01-04/jason-crowe-jr-lynwood-high-freshman-basketball-star Meet Jason Crowe Jr.: Lynwood’s 14-year-old freshman sensation