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Game Recognizes Game 6.16.00


By Isaac Paris


Ya'll act like ya'll ain't ever seen a white person before. Stop starin' at only Slim Shady...
Austin Croshere is somewhere in Indianapolis practicing as I write this. His mind is on the NBA Finals. But I believe he?racticing for something else. I believe he?reparing to take on the role his coach once had. Whether Austin likes it or not, it is destiny. It is already written. See, Austin Croshere is the new Slim Shady, the new anomaly. He is new Great White Reality. Austin?ext life is one that will be wrought with media (over) love, Black (over) hate and immortality. Mark my words. Print this column out and hang it on your wall. Tell Jason Williams to sit back down, because the real Slim Shady has stood up.

The history of Great White Hopes and Realities in this country goes back to Rocky Marciano and that classic barber shop scene in E Murph's coming to America. You remember? To paraphrase a little, "Every time Black folks start talkin?out boxing, white folks got to pull Rocky Marciano out their ass." Classic, yo. The scene capsulated every discussion Black folks have ever had amongst themselves as to why white people always 'nominated' certain white sports and entertainment stars as 'the greatest', when a Black icon was already occupying that position.

Marciano versus Ali. Bird versus Magic. Duke versus the Fab Five. Unitas versus Jim Brown. Elvis versus James Brown. Sh*t, Elvis versus Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and every other Black performer from the 80s on down. You get what I'm trying to say. It'sn historic debate.

The flip is that white athletes have always had to deal with the hate Black fans unfairly put on them because they are, well, white. Growing up, I hated everything about Larry Bird, simply because the white media always portrayed him in a greater light than Magic. You could hear the thrill in white commentators?ices when Bird would achieve the smallest of victories. He was their ivory trophy in a sport dominated by Black supermen. But eventually I had to face facts: Bird is truthfully one of the best to have ever played the game. White, Black, whateva. His career was marred in my eyes, though, by the twin forces of over-hype and under-love.

Slim Shady is a persona. Eminem, as a lyricist, has undeniable skills. His flow is sick. Anyone frontin' on that needs to peep his verse on Biggie 'Dead Wrong' order to understand the gift. It's real. But Slim Shady will always receive more pub and praise than his Black counterparts would in the same situation because Slim is a white boy. He will also be ridiculed by Black fans that secretly love him and publicly hate his ass because, again, Slim is a white boy. A white artist in a Black world. Welcome to Austin Croshere's future life.

For AC, the skills are there and growing. In just four Finals games, he has averaged 15.5 ppg coming off the bench when Rik Smits gets into his inevitable foul trouble. He's shooting close to 56% from the field. He alone kept the Pacers in Game 2 when he hit for 24. He got game and at times shows flashes of brilliance (ask Robert Horry). But this will not be enough to avoid the hate or justify the amount of love that will come his way. Nothing can stop the twins.

Maybe Austin can get some advice from Bird. Maybe it won't bother him. But based on what he has shown so far, it's clear that the throne is his to take. His future headlines will include phrases like hard worker instead of 'natural athlete.' Things like 'gym rat' instead of 'a gifted ballplayer.' Things true and untrue. Word on the street will be that he 'ain't all that'or 'they're tryin' to make him better than Kobe.'

Get ready Slim. You've been warned.

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Austin Croshere has solid skills,
a humble attitude and a sweet jumper
... sound familiar?

By Cindy Luis
Star-Bulletin



HE'S straight out of "Hoosiers," which is -- no surprise -- his favorite movie.
Hard working. Blue-collar. Right out of the same mold as Larry Bird, his rookie head coach.
Indiana is going to love this guy.
The Indiana Pacers already do.
Austin Croshere came to the rookie camp early each day and stayed late. He plans to get to fall training camp a
month early to work out with the coaches.
Croshere, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Providence, is here at the Pete Newell Big Man Camp to learn. And learn to get better.
At yesterday's session at the Special Events Arena, Croshere was first in line to try every new drill. A little head fake and up over camp coach Tim Grgurich.
Swish.
A drop-step back to just within the 3-point line, about 10 feet out, tough angle.
Banked it in, off the glass. Twice in a row.
A nifty quick step with reverse pivot while being overplayed by coach Kiki Vandeveghe.
Uh huh, jam!
Croshere is a quick learner.
"Austin's been tremendous," said Pacers assistant coach Rick Carlisle, a member of the Big Man Camp staff.
"He's a basketball receptical. He's really into it and really wants to be a good player.
"At our camp in July, he was the first guy there and we had to kick him out of the gym every day."
All Croshere has ever asked is for a chance to prove he could play in a place that wanted him. Providence
College was such a place where the lightly recruited Croshere blossomed into an All-Big East selection.
He sees the same opportunity playing for Bird. Croshere was Larry Legend's first ever draft pick -- No. 12 in the first round. He doesn't want to disappoint his new coach.
"I couldn't ask for a better place to play," Croshere said. "They seem to think I have talent. It's going to be a lot of hard work but I'm willing to work.
"Being Coach Bird's first pick ... it's a great feeling to have someone like him want me. I can't wait to get started, get a better idea of what he wants out of me. The sooner I can get over the fact that I'm playing for a legend the better off I'll be.
"Before the draft, Croshere was one of three players brought in for a workout in front of the Pacers' coaching staff.
He, Michigan's Maurice Taylor and Johnny Taylor of Tennessee-Chattanooga went at it for 45 minutes.
"They all looked good," Bird told the Indianapolis Star-News. "But Austin to me was a step ahead of the other
guys. He has the ability. Now he has to do a lot of work and learn how to defend the wing. I saw a lot of things in the workout."
Bird saw a lot of himself out there. Croshere is an outstanding shooter. He set a Big East single-season record for free throw percentage (.933).
He's unselfish. He's intelligent. He has solid all-around skills.
"I'm looking forward to this camp," Croshere said. "I've worked with Coach Newell in the past and a lot of the things he teaches, I believe in. I've gotten to where I am by having good skills and I look forward to improving the skills I do have."
Croshere grew up in West Los Angeles. His father went to UCLA but the Bruins weren't interested in the kid from Crossroads School.
"If UCLA had recruited me with any intensity, I would have gone there," he said. "But things happen for a reason and it worked out for the best. Providence had a reputation of getting the most out of players' abilities. That's whatI'm all about."
Croshere is also just 22 and rich. He signed a three-year, $4,084,440 contract (the maximum allowed under the rookie salary structure), becoming the earliest first-round signee ever for the Pacers.
Croshere hasn't spent much of the money but figures he has some debts to pay off. His plans include a sizeable donation to the Santa Monica (Calif.) Boys Club, where he started playing basketball.
He also is establishing a fund to build an academic center for Providence athletes and is donating money to an
Indianapolis charity related to Alzheimer's Disease, an illness his grandfather died of.
The only item he's bought so far is a new Lexus for his mother's birthday, which is today. The new car replacesher 1965 Volkswagen Beetle.
"Every once in a while it (the money) hits me," Croshere said. "But it hasn't changed our family. Like my mom's birthday. We would have gone out to dinner (Saturday) regardless of how much money I had. It might have beena $7 a plate dinner versus $30 but we would have gone out to dinner.
"That's one of adjustments I know I'll have to make. The NBA lifestyle is different from college. It's like myposition (small forward). It's not entirely new to me but it's new enough. But I have a luxury most draft picks don't have. I have Coach Bird and (newly acquired all-star forward) Chris Mullin to learn from."
At Sunday night's orientation meeting Croshere was in the front row, taking notes and taking it all in. A little later, he was signing autographs for youngsters, asking each one for their first names.
The NBA fans are going to love this guy.

Austin Towers
By Brin Hill

-*click on the picture at my homepage to play video*-

It?am, Sunday morning, at the beach. The waves are breaking and the sun is blazing. It?he summer before your freshman year of college, but you?got no time to enjoy the outdoors love; there?ork to be done. You?getting ready to travel back east to play small-time hoops at the next level. Gotta get some shots in, so you head to the gym. As you approach the door, you hear the sound you love - the solitary bouncing of the rock in an empty gym. Jimmy Hines, the old part-time rebounder now full-time janitor at Santa Monica City College, sits on an overturned trashcan by the gym entrance and slyly smiles at you as he sips dark coffee.
"He beat you here," Jimmy says.
Dang. You?suppose to be the hardest-worker this side of town, a gym rat beyond all gym rats, and someone beat you here!?! You crack the door. Sure enough, the skinniest, palest, scrawniest white kid you?ever seen is moving through a complex workout, already drenched to the bone in sweat. This ninth-grader should be sleeping, getting ready for the beach; doesn?e know he? Cali-guy?
"Guys might be able to run faster than me, jumper higher than me, be better athletes, but no one is going to outwork me," Indiana Pacer forward Austin Croshere says years later.
You look into his eyes and can?elieve this chiseled NBA player who?unked on Vince and Alonzo is the same pasty ninth grader you used to punish in that empty Santa Monica gym.

"He looks like Charlie Sheen, but he?take it to you," says teammate Jalen Rose. "I?seen him throw on some of the best."
You think back to that summer; he was terrible. There?o way he was a potential NBA stud. But then you scan through his resume. All along his journey, he was doubted. The mysterious basketball powers that be consistently wrote him off. Austin never made blue-chip lists or had profiles written about him in schoolboy rating services. As a 6?mp;quot; high-school junior, his own coach went on record saying he?e a nice, mid-level Division II center. Austin heard that, and felt it, too. So he worked harder. Jimmy Hines started finding him waiting at the gym door at 7am on weekends. In AAU games, Croshere went out and destroyed the "elite" recruits in California. He broke down Richard Mandeville so bad it? wonder how Bobby Knight could take the kid. He obliterated prize recruit Michael Stewart. Yet, the cream of the crop in his own backyard, UCLA and Cal didn?hink he could play at their level? The PAC-10?!? Michael Stewart can play there.
At that point, Austin was still doubted. Still underestimated. The rest of us might have been discouraged, listened to the raters, the coaches, the guys at Santa Monica?ick-up Mecca, Memorial Park, who said "big man?ot that good, he?o D-1 player." But not that scrawny ninth-grader who molded himself into something of a player. He was at the gym every morning. He was lifting, running sprints in soft sand at the same beach where his peers are hollering at girls and catching rays. Plain and simple, he was forming himself into a baller.

"I? blue-collar player who?layed in blue-collar towns and the fans appreciate the time I?put in to make myself a pro," Austin says recently after being mobbed on the way into an Indianapolis restaurant by a working-class family that wants to take a photo with him. (People have always recognized his work ethic, but in the same breath, they have also undervalued it.)

Jim Calhoun? blue-collar coach if there?ver been one. He recognizes hard work. He reveres dedication. He loves kids who make themselves into players. Calhoun fell in love with Austin and recruited him to UCONN. A major D-1 school wanted that little white boy from the beach, and Croshere jumped at the chance to play in the conference that defines cutthroat basketball. People had said Austin was soft. He?how them. He was headed straight to the trenches in the premiere league for bangers. That was, until, Calhoun gave his scholarship away.
Austin won?alk about it now, but it obviously hurt him. The validation he was going to throw back in the faces of naysayers was suddenly stripped from him. It was more fuel for the fire. Maybe those old guys at the park were right, "big-man wasn?o good."
Not too many schools came calling. Notre Dame wanted him to play another year of prep-school basketball to develop some more. Develop? Croshere had busted the butts of all comers, winning at the high school level on a team that didn?eature him as the first or second option, destroying the "rated" kids at camps and AAU tourneys, and he needed another year? Tell that to the centers whose foreheads featured a Spalding print like it was Croshere?ersonal calling card. He was ready. Rick Barnes agreed and brought Austin to Providence. Was it mere irony that AC would be playing Calhoun?quad twice, maybe three times a year in the Big East? Knowing Austin, probably not. Just another doubter to prove wrong.

"You gotta go east if you want to be a baller." AC says when talking about his decision to play for Barnes. "You gotta?ove yourself there."
He may be right, but Providence seems to be merely a nice stopover on the way to a decent career in Europe or a job on Wall Street. Haters didn?ven give him that. "After a year, he?be home playing in the West Coast Conference," locals at Memorial spouted.
But then, in his sophomore year, Austin took over the Big-East tournament, single-handedly sending Syracuse and John Wallace into conniptions. A star was born. All that hard work amounted to something. "Lucky game," Memorial locals mumble between sips of malt liquor. But, that?our man, getting it done like he always had.
Austin turned the Big east out. And with success came harder work. He no longer waited for Providence?ersion of Jimmy Hines to unlock doors; Croshere was now literally breaking into the gym at night to work on his game. He developed himself into a skilled three-point shooter who could kill in the post. Inside, outside, he?et them either way. Those naysayers were always wearing the enemy?ersey and Austin played like he had something to prove. He took on all comers and ended up eighth on the school?ll-time scorer?ist. Pretty good for a mid-level Division II player.
"I?never been so glad to see one player have success and move on to the next level because now we don?ave to play him anymore," said John Thompson.

And how fitting is it that Austin, a kid without much natural talent, who worked and willed himself into the NBA, is picked by the team in basketball?nofficial capital? Not only that, but he was the inaugural pick of one of the greatest legends of all time, Larry Bird. The boys at Memorial Park scoffed at Indiana?hoice, "Austin?o lottery pick, he? twelfth-man somewhere, a nice practice player."
There were even internal complaints on the Pacers. "Wasted pick." "Indiana wanted a great white hope." "He ain?onna? nothing." Again, everyone underestimated this kid?eart. For two years, the naysayers seemed to finally be right. Austin toiled through unlucky injuries and bench life. He dreamed of showing the haters up, but this time he was buried deep on the pine. There was no opportunity to shine without checking into the game. Then came the trade of Antonio Davis for the future - Jonathan Bender. Who would take the open spot? Austin saw an angle and forced the Pacers?rd. He gained twenty pounds of muscle and moved to power forward. He went to a summer league in Boston and won the unofficial MVP - leading scorer, leading rebounder. He went to camp and killed in the exhibition games. Players on the team took notice. Austin played his way into the rotation and earned their trust, their respect.

"When you?around Austin everyday, you?not surprised by what he?ccomplished this year because he?een doing it in practice for two years," smiles mentor Chris Mullin.
This season, Austin has gone bananas. During the regular season, he was the Pacers?urth leading scorer and second leading rebounder. Hubie Brown picked him as his sixth man of the year at the mid-point of the season. Some are mentioning him as the most improved player in the league.
"It?ice to be thought of, but I?ot interested in those things. I have other, higher, team-oriented goals," Austin, always the humble soldier, mumbles at dinner. A flock of girls approach the table and gush at the sight of the Charlie Sheen look alike.
Austin sure has come a long way. Just listen to the loudmouths up at Memorial Park. "AC be ballin?is year, puttin? down," they say. What happened to all the hate? It turned into forced love. Austin finally shut these fools up.
What did you think of this story?

Send your thoughts to smack@HoopsTV.com and look for your best smack in Smack and your letters in Viewer Email.

Austin Croshere
MARCH 1, 1998

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Daily Diary

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Like anyone caught in a traffic jam, Pacers rookie forward Austin Croshere can do little but sit and wait. Complaining or crying won't clear the road ahead of him. Still, the Pacers' first-round draft pick (12th overall) has often felt the mounting frustration of someone forced into inactivity while others move ahead. Croshere, a 6-10 forward from Providence, has played little this season.

He got a bad break -- literally -- two minutes into Indiana's opening exhibition game against Cleveland, when he broke his left wrist after he was hit while going up for a rebound basket. Croshere was placed on the injured list for the remainder of the preseason and the first eight regular season games and has had to settle for a spot at the back of the line ever since. He's stuck behind Chris Mullin, Jalen Rose and Derrick McKey at small forward and Dale Davis and Antonio Davis at power forward -- hardly the sort of opportunity he was hoping for coming out of Providence.

"There's no way we're going to give up on him; we know he's a talented player," Pacers coach Larry Bird says. "But unless we have a (blowout), he's not going to get big minutes." TSN correspondent Mark Montieth talks with Croshere about his difficult transition to the NBA.

This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. When you're a rookie, you get drafted, you sign, and you get your first paycheck, and you think you've got the world in the palm of your hand. Then you get to training camp, and you start to realize it's not as easy as you think it's going to be. It's a big awakening, but this is what I want to do with my life. I'm working hard, I'm staying after practice, and I'm doing all the things that helped me get better in college. You put your time in and keep working hard, and good things are going to happen.

I do the things all our rookies do. I take my turn bringing doughnuts and newspapers to practice, I pass out towels afterward, I pick up laundry bags, and I help carry the luggage from the airplane to the bus on road trips. I must be highest-paid baggage-handler in the world. There's an extreme feeling of guilt being paid what I'm being paid (more than $1 million this season) and not playing more.

A lot of my friends don't know how to act toward me now. They're used to seeing me play and score, and now they're shying away and maybe waiting for me to have a good game before calling me. That's been tough. You learn who your close friends are when you're not doing well . . . and it's been pretty lonely at times.

My closer friends and my girlfriend have always been there, though. You learn who you can talk to about things and who really cares. Other people say, "You've got a lot of money -- stop complaining." People don't understand that because you have money that doesn't make what you're going through any easier.

I didn't know what to expect, but I'll be honest: I never expected not to play in this many games. But you don't want to not make the most of it because you weren't prepared. When you're not playing as much, you can't let that beat you. You have to understand the circumstances and overcome them. It might not happen this year, but if someone gets hurt, you have to be ready, or else you're letting everyone else down.

The travel here is really something. Everything just flows into the next thing. You don't even know where you are half the time. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten my room number. And recently I had a funny thing happen. A lot of times we get in at 3 a.m. and you go to bed by 4. Then you have to get up at 7 to get ready for shoot-around, so it's like a three-hour nap.

I'll just set my alarm, wake up and order room service, jump in the shower and come back and eat my waffle. That day I set my alarm for a nap before the game. It went off, I called room service, half asleep, and started to order a waffle and French toast. The lady said, "I'm sorry, sir, we're not serving breakfast any longer." It was four o'clock in the afternoon!











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One-on-One with Austin Croshere

Austin Croshere is putting up career-best numbers in this, his third NBA season. (Ron Hoskins/NBA Photos)

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During his first two NBA seasons, Pacers forward Austin Croshere watched and waited. Now it's his turn to shine.

Indiana turned to Jalen Rose and Croshere to infuse athleticism into the Pacers' frontcourt this season. As a result, Croshere's playing time more than doubled and he has responded with career-best numbers in scoring (10.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg).

Croshere has been particularly strong in March, averaging 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in eight games and shooting a stellar 53 percent (10-for-19) from three-point range.

The Pacers have bolted to the front of the pack in the Eastern Conference with a 43-21 record.

Croshere answered fan questions in a live NBA.com chat on Thursday, March 16.
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Sebastian Trila-Argentina from [200.41.216.15], at 7:04pm ET
What was the most important advice you received from either Larry Bird or the veteran players on the team?
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Austin Croshere at 7:04pm ET
I think it's a long season and you really need to take care of your body, make sure you get enough rest because you have to practice really hard to get through a long season.
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Jeffrey Fong from [141.161.115.231], at 7:05pm ET
Who inspired you to become a basketball player?
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Austin Croshere at 7:05pm ET
I grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan and certainly idolized Magic Johnson. I think growing up and watching him certainly helped me to decide that basketball was something I wanted to do.
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Robyn from [216.102.116.21], at 7:06pm ET
First of all, you have provided valuable, awesome input this year! I am so glad to see your success after all the disappointing injuries that stopped you earlier. Did having Larry Bird as your coach in your first year intimidate you a lot, or were you more excited about it?
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Austin Croshere at 7:06pm ET
I definitely was very excited to have the opportunity to play for a legend like Larry Bird, but there were times he'd be rebounding for me and I'd have to pinch myself to make sure this was really happening.
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Molly from [139.102.112.145], at 7:06pm ET
Are there any rituals that you do before a game?
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Austin Croshere at 7:07pm ET
I eat the same meal before every game. I get on the court at the same time before every game. Little rituals, but nothing really too big. The meal is pasta with chicken and shrimp at the same restaurant. I get on the court an hour and fifteen minutes before every game.
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Sunny from [209.246.82.43], at 7:07pm ET
Who do you think will be the Pacers' toughest Eastern Conference opponent in the playoffs?
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Austin Croshere at 7:08pm ET
I think the three best teams are certainly ourselves, Miami and New York. New York beat us in the playoffs last year, so that's going to be a huge opponent --a s well as Miami, who is one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
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Brad Citter from [209.138.10.175], at 7:08pm ET
Go Pacers. I noticed that you have been more aggressive and an all around better basketball player than last year. You have been a huge asset to the Pacer team in both scoring and rebounding. What did you do mentally and physically to prepare yourself for this year?
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Austin Croshere at 7:09pm ET
This summer was really big for me. I put on about 20 pounds of muscle which really helped in the aggressiveness and playing down low. I got a lot of playing time in our summer league so I gained a lot of confidence. And the trade of Antonio Davis created a lot of playing time.
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Josh E. from [209.180.9.100], at 7:10pm ET
What is your opinion on the "microphone rule" with coaches?
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Austin Croshere at 7:11pm ET
To me it's not that big of a deal, depending on how the media wants to use it. If they want to use it for entertainment while the coaches are going up and down the sidelines. But if they want to do it during the timeouts, I don't think that's right because it might change what they say and what they do. But there are a lot of funny things that go on between the coaches and the referees.
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Robert Arnts from [212.140.120.133], at 7:11pm ET
Who, in your opinion, in the most dangerous player on your team?
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Austin Croshere at 7:12pm ET
On our team, I'd have to say Jalen Rose because he has the ability to score in so many ways. He's probably our best player offensively in transition. He's not as good of a shooter as Reggie Miller, but he can shoot the ball in many ways and he can post up.
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Dhinesh Ganapathiappan from [12.72.65.99], at 7:12pm ET
When did you slam your first dunk?
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Austin Croshere at 7:13pm ET
My first dunk was in ninth grade and I was actually 6 feet tall, but at that time I didn't have a lot of coordination so it took a while for the coordination to catch up with the height so I could dunk. So in the ninth grade I was 14.
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Lawrence from [140.142.175.96], at 7:13pm ET
Hi, Austin, I noticed you dunked over Alonzo last time. How was that feeling and what were you thinking after the dunk?
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Austin Croshere at 7:14pm ET
It was a play on the fast break and my teammates got me the ball in the right place at the right time. After the play, I was excited because we were closing in on Miami, who had had a big lead on us. It was a really big game and we needed the win.
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Chris Harris from [204.248.210.60], at 7:16pm ET
You have been a great part of the Pacers this season in rebounding and scoring. I love your playing skills. Who do you think you most resemble?
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Austin Croshere at 7:17pm ET
I try not to pattern myself after just one player, but take different parts of different players' games and combine them into one. Different players who come to mind are Kiki Vandeweghe, whom I work out with in the summer. And working out with Larry every day -- he shows me things that he did and I try to add them to my game.
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Eliot from [152.163.206.191], at 7:17pm ET
What is your favorite type of music?
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Austin Croshere at 7:18pm ET
I have a pretty wide variety when it comes to music. I listen to hip hop and R&B around the house, but living in Indiana, I've started to listen to country music.
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Jordan Carter from [198.165.106.67], at 7:18pm ET
Hey Austin, do you still watch college ball?
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Austin Croshere at 7:19pm ET
Of course, it's hard when we travel a lot, but I try to catch as many Providence games as I can. Every once in a while, I catch the games on TV. For the NCAAs, we did our picks and I think I chose Michigan State to win.
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John O'Neill from [141.117.91.205], at 7:19pm ET
What do you do with your spare time between games?
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Austin Croshere at 7:19pm ET
In my spare time, I try to relax as much as possible -- if it's hanging out with friends or going to movies or sitting around the house renting movies. I try to relax as much as possible.
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Will from [205.188.196.47], at 7:20pm ET
How did you get the number 44?
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Austin Croshere at 7:20pm ET
In high school, I wore the number 24 and when I got to college, 24 was taken. So my next choice was 34, which was taken. So I came to 44 and liked it and have stuck with it ever since.
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Cliff from [167.154.3.194], at 7:20pm ET
What do you like the best about your job and what do like the least?
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Austin Croshere at 7:21pm ET
What I like best is the opportunity to play a game that I love playing, interacting with your teammates, your coaches and the fans. What I like least would be all the traveling and living out of a suitcase.
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Andrew Schmidt from [38.27.56.65], at 7:22pm ET
How difficult was it for you to adjust to the NBA style of play?
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Austin Croshere at 7:22pm ET
It was very difficult. I think everyone's a little bit taller, a little bit stronger and a little bit more experienced. When you're thrown into the pros, it's the old saying -- you were a big fish in a little pond and now you're a little fish in a big pond and it's difficult to make the adjustment at first.
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Rydex from [208.160.252.174], at 7:23pm ET
Nice going Pacers! It's just nice to see that you and all of the guys are really doing well this season. Do you think you're going to make it finally to the finals?
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Austin Croshere at 7:23pm ET
Yes, I think this is the year for us. I think we're going to make the most of the opportunity this year. It's not going to be easy, with teams like Miami and New York, but I'm confident this is our year.
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Sarah from [129.173.1.52], at 7:23pm ET
Do you play any other sports?
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Austin Croshere at 7:24pm ET
In high school, I played volleyball and I grew up playing just about everything: soccer and baseball. And during the summers, I'll go down to the beach and play some beach volleyball as well.
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Jason Witz from [152.163.207.71], at 7:24pm ET
What do you plan on doing once your basketball career is over?
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Austin Croshere at 7:25pm ET
Basketball is something that's been a big part of my life for a long time and hopefully I can stay in basketball after I'm done playing. I think coaching in college is something I'd be very interested in doing. I think you can give back more and make more of an impact on players in college. In the pros you don't have a lot of time to work with individual players on skills and all that.
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Sarah from [129.173.1.52], at 7:26pm ET
Hi, I think you're awesome.When did you know you wanted to play basketball professionally?
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Austin Croshere at 7:27pm ET
I think at some point early in my college career I realized there might be an opportunity to play professionally. At that point I made it a goal of mine to work as hard as I could to make it to the NBA.
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Joe Clinton from [216.78.44.70], at 7:27pm ET
What is most important in your life?
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Austin Croshere at 7:28pm ET
Family is certainly most important. My family is in Los Angeles, so they're far away, but they're always in my thoughts. My brother's a senior at Loyola-Marymount this year and I'm happy for him that he's going to be graduating. Certainly my family is the most important.
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Austin Croshere at 7:28pm ET
Thank you for all of your questions. Thank you for your support in following myself and the Indiana Pacers. And hopefully we'll win it all this year. Thank you!






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Nothing's gone right in NBA for Croshere
By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Austin Croshere, the former Providence College basketball star, has reached his dream of playing in the NBA as a member of the Indiana Pacers and he is miserable.
The Pacers in July signed forward Croshere, the 12th pick in the NBA draft, to a three-year contract worth just over $4 million. The 6-foot-9 Croshere, an All-Big East player at Providence, said he was relieved at the time.
But Croshere broke his hand in the first preseason game, which pushed him to the back of the pack in playing time in coach Larry Bird's rotation, behind forwards Chris Mullin and Dale Davis.
"He got hurt at the wrong time," Bird told the Providence Journal-Bulletin. "Once we got into our rotation, the season was started. It's pretty congested at his position now."
Croshere, who has played in only four games and hasn't scored a point, described his predicament as terrible.
"I don't know how to deal with it. I'm trying to work hard on the things I have control over like practice and staying in shape. Coach Bird told me you can learn by making mistakes or watching other guys play. I'll have to sit and watch. He's preached to me that it's a long year but it probably won't get any better," Crosher said.
Unlike college, Croshere can't sit in the coach's office and work out his problems.
"He's been honest with me," Croshere said. "We talked for really the only time since I got hurt after I didn't get in for eight games in a row. He said they didn't have the luxury of getting me in to get me going. He said when they drafted me they didn't draft me for this year."
Croshere got a chance to play against the Magic on Dec. 26. Fans cheered whenever he touched the ball, but they groaned as he was blocked in a dunk attempt. He left the game without scoring.
"Basketball is so much of what I'm about," Croshere said. "I don't have friends or school here to get away from it. It's my life. I know as a rookie you're getting paid on your potential but that doesn't make it any easier."

Please mail any comments to Newsroom@S-T.com

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Croshere's 16-Point Game Is Sure to Get Him Noticed
LONNIE WHITE, Times Staff Writer

Indiana Pacer forward Austin Croshere was stuck and had no way out. With his feet in an ice bucket, Croshere sat in front of his locker, still in his uniform, when reporters crowded around him after the Lakers defeated the Pacers, 104-87, in Game 1 of the NBA finals Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Croshere, who attended Crossroads High in Santa Monica, had just scored 16 points on six-of-seven shooting but none of the first several questions put to him dealt with him or his homecoming.

Instead, Croshere was asked about Laker center Shaquille O'Neal's dominant game or teammate Reggie Miller's forgettable one.

But Croshere didn't seem to mind. He answered each question the same until he was finally asked how it felt playing in the "Big Show" in front of family and friends.

"I think it really has helped because for the last two days I've just been around my family and I haven't had too much time to think about the magnitude of the game and being in the NBA finals for the first time," said the former Providence player.

The scouting report on the Pacers is pretty simple. They like to run an inside-out attack featuring Rik Smits, Jalen Rose and Miller as their go-to players. Deep in the report you'll find Croshere, and the book on him is not too thick.

The Lakers figured if they slowed Smits, Rose and Miller, they would not have to worry about too many other Pacers. In Game 1, however, Croshere gave the Lakers something to think about as he scored at will all game.

"Obviously, we're very happy with the way [Croshere] battled out there," Pacer Coach Larry Bird said. "He's capable of putting the ball on the floor, capable of scoring, and he can rebound. I thought he played very well tonight. He was very focused."

Other than Croshere, Mark Jackson and Dale Davis (who combined to make 16 of 20 shots), Indiana did not have too many players shoot well.

"We just didn't hit any shots tonight, especially early," Davis said. "We had a couple of opportunities and went on some decent runs, but we couldn't quite get over the hump. We know where we're at right now and we know what we need to work on and what we need to do to regroup and turn this thing around."

One tactic for the Pacers may be to share the ball with the entire team to take more pressure off their "Big Three." Croshere, who had a breakthrough regular season and has come up with a couple of big scoring games in the playoffs, hopes his play earned the Lakers' attention because, he said, it will only help the Pacers the rest of the series.

"I was taking advantage of the opportunities that were there . . . guys played off of me a little bit," Croshere said of the room he was given by the Lakers. "I'm not a primary scoring option in our offense. So I don't get double-teamed a lot. I was able to make some shots and get some offensive-rebound putbacks.

"If they make adjustments to try and stop me, that will make other guys even more open. I'll take our chances with a double team on me and a single team on Reggie Miller. . . . I would like to continue as a scoring threat, but this team is not going to win without a huge contribution from Reggie."

Despite their lopsided loss, the Pacers do not consider the Lakers unbeatable. With Miller an offensive no-show and Rose limited to only 12 points, the Pacers believe they couldn't have played worse than they did in Game 1.

Considering that Smits, Rose and Miller combined to make only 11 of 40 shots, they may be right.

"It was just a tough night all around," Rose said. "We weren't nervous. [We missed some shots] but that doesn't mean that we were nervous.

"But it's just one game. We're going to approach it like it is just one game. You don't lose a series by losing one game but at the same time, we don't want this to snowball."

If it does, it will be a short series. Lakers' Robert Horry and Rick Fox.




Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times and Total Sports Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Asked what happened on the last play when they were unable
to send the game into a 2nd OT, Croshere said:
"It was a huge opportunity that went by. The last play, we
just ran a double-screen to get Reggie the ball, and if
they double-teamed on him, he'd dump it into Rik. Reggie
felt he had a good shot, he's been making tough shots all
game and unfortunately, it was just a little short." (NBA)

Asked if he thought they had a good shot at winning the game in OT when Shaq fouled out, Croshere said:
"I think Rik did a good job of making them pay, trying to get the ball down low, and we got some easy baskets. Bottom line, they made some really good shots, made some big plays, and they got some offensive rebounds in the overtime, and Kobe really stepped up his game." (NBA)

Asked if they still had their confidence, Croshere said:
"Absolutely. It's definitely a clich?but there's nothing you can do except look at one game at a time at this point. We have a game here on Friday, and I still like our chances at home. We just have to win that game and go from there." (NBA)

Asked if they were aggressive enough trying to foul Shaq out when he had 5 fouls, Croshere said:
"I think we were. I think we went to Rik late. Give him credit, he played an excellent game. He got Shaq to getinto foul trouble, and ultimately, to foul out. We had hit tough shots all game, and then in overtime, they weren't falling like we would have liked them to." (NBA)

Asked how frustrating it was to watch Kobe when Shaq fouled
out, Croshere said:
"Obviously, very frustrating. I thought we played good defense on him, and he just hit some tough shots. Give him a lot of credit. He's an All-Star-caliber player, and he really stepped up when they needed him to." (NBA)

About how he was such a Lakers fan growing up that he went
out one Halloween as Kurt Rambis, Croshere said:
"I wore long hair, glasses and a T-shirt. Maybe a wrist band. It was kind of thrown together at the last minute. I just remember he had long hair. He was always hustling and played hard." (LADN)








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Croshere finds a way against LA
JUNE 13, 2000


J.A. Adande
Los Angeles Times


INDIANAPOLIS -- When Austin Croshere's name came up in the draft, the Los Angeles Lakers wanted him.

We didn't get him.

Yes, we. It was 1986, I was an assistant coach in the Biddy Basketball League at the Santa Monica Boys Club, and our team was called the Lakers. Croshere went to the Blazers -- who had the distinction of having the uniforms that looked most like their NBA namesakes.

Croshere was a skinny, 11-year-old kid who was pretty good. I wish I could tell you that I knew he would be a standout player in high school, that one day he would lead Crossroads to a CIF Southern Section championship.

I wish I could tell you I knew he would play for a Big East college and his school would make it to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

I wish I could tell you I knew he would be a first-round NBA draft pick. And that one day, when the Lakers played the Indiana Pacers in the NBA finals and Lakers players said, "He's killing us," or, "He's dominating," they would be talking about Austin Croshere and not Reggie Miller.

But no one could have predicted this much success for Croshere. To see how far he has come, to try to grasp it all is even a bit beyond Croshere's comprehension.

"If you had told me going into the season that I would be playing 25 minutes a game in the NBA finals. . . ." he said. "Not that I wouldn't believe it, but that would be an absolute best-case scenario.

"Maybe things have happened a little bit quicker, but at the same time I feel I've paid my price by sitting and watching for two years."

Croshere always paid the price, and that's how he got here.

"The two things that would have led me to believe that he wouldn't make it in the NBA were that, one, I didn't know if he'd be strong enough, and two, if his feet would be fast enough," said Paul Cummins, the Crossroads founder and former headmaster. "In high school he kind of lumbered up and down the court.

"The thing about him is, he's just the hardest worker you could imagine."

The only blessing came in the form of a growth spurt that took him from six feet at the start of ninth grade to 6-9 at the start of 11th grade.

The rest was extra time spent shooting jumpers. Extra hours put in with the coaching staff at Providence. And when that didn't translate into immediate success in the NBA, he made the extra commitment to bulk up his body and improve his speed by training with former UCLA track and field athlete Milan Teff and attending Pete Newell's big man camp over the summer.

The Pacers traded Antonio Davis for Jonathan Bender, a first-round pick straight out of high school, leaving Croshere as the main reserve forward.

Now he has gone from a guy who hardly played in his first two seasons to a key factor in the most important games of the season.

He dropped 16 points on the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA finals and came back with 24 in Game 2, with his family and Cummins watching at Staples Center.

He scored 12 in the Pacers' victory Sunday, including a key basket when he took a loose ball away from Rick Fox and Robert Horry and scored to give Indiana a six-point lead with 2:30 to play.

He has been one of the toughest matchups for the Lakers, an unexpected problem. He scores inside against players such as Fox and shoots three-pointers or drives around taller players such as Horry.

Oh, and Croshere just happens to become a free agent this summer. Can you say, Cha-ching!?

It might seem too good to be true for a guy who grew up in Lakerland, who used to sit in the cheap seats at the Forum ("I always remember sitting above the scoreboard and looking down," he said). Except he is too busy handling his business.

"I think, maybe when the season's over and I have time maybe looking back on it . . . . probably," Croshere said when asked if he thinks of the magnitude of it all. "But at this point I've just got to worry about the time at hand."

That didn't keep Jalen Rose from recognizing a natural story and trying to promote it.

"Pub my man up in LA!" Rose said as he walked by. "You've got to give him some love."

Croshere still has love for LA. He lives in a Santa Monica condominium during the offseason. He drops casual Southern California references during interview sessions, mentioning summer workouts at SMC as if reporters from New York and Chicago and Louisville would all know that's Santa Monica College.

He did go on about the difference in cultures, how people in LA are obsessed with stars and the stars are obsessed with their public appearances, while what few famous faces there are in Indiana (such as Pacers coach Larry Bird) simply lead their lives normally.

The Indianapolis social scene is a little slow, he admits, but that's fine for him because it lets him concentrate on work.

Time for the true test of his LA roots: Does he like the popular Southern California food of In-N-Out Burger, or does he prefer the burgers served up by the pride of the Midwest, Steak 'n' Shake?

"In-N-Out," he said. "Steak 'n' Shake's pretty good, but I've got to go with In-N-Out."

J.A. Adande, a regular contributor to The Sporting News, is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times.



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