Dallas Mavericks rookie can use father as phone lifeline

DALLAS -- If Dallas Mavericks rookie forward Jae Crowder has any problems making the transition from college basketball to the NBA, all he has to do is pick up the phone and call his father.

Crowder's dad, Corey, played 58 games in the 1991-92 season for the Utah Jazz and seven games in 1994-95 for the San Antonio Spurs before finishing his playing career in France. The younger Crowder knows there are advantages to walking down a similar path.

"That's who I, quote unquote, pillow talk to," Jae Crowder said. "I talk to my dad about all the stuff that I go through on the court -- and the off-the-court issues -- and he helps me so much.

"He helps me learn how to live like a professional. It's still a learning process and I'm still going through it, but, of course, that's like extra help, like a teammate that you can call anytime."

Crowder must have called his dad before playing for the Mavs in the summer league in Las Vegas. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder was selected to the Summer League All-Star team after leading the Mavs in scoring (16.6), rebounding (5.4), and steals (2.0).

"We really like him just as an all-around basketball player, and really, I think, he's going to be a multi-position guy," coach Rick Carlisle said. "His mid-range game is tremendous.

"He's working on stretching out to [the 3-point line]. But he's got a great intellectual curiosity for the game, he's in the right place all the time, he's tough, and he'll take charges and play well within the system."

Crowder has enjoyed plenty of success.

He was selected the Junior College Player of the Year for 2009-10 with Howard College in Big Spring, then was named Big East Player of the Year with Marquette last season while averaging 17.5 and 8.4 rebounds.

"He's a winner, he does every single thing that you ask him do to, and he wants to know how hard you want him to do it," said assistant Monte Mathis, who coached the summer league team. "He does all the little things that don't go in the stat sheets -- from guarding people to getting deflections to taking charges to making the extra pass that leads to an assist.

"He's playing the [small forward] spot, he's playing the [power forward] spot, and he knows the offense inside and out. The summer league really helped him with all of our defensive schemes."

Crowder will put his early experience and success to the test at 1 p.m. today when the Mavericks open preseason play in Germany against Alba Berlin.

"I had a great summer league," said Crowder, who was the 34th pick of the draft. "I felt like I came in and learned the system, I was around the coaching staff and I got a head start before training camp and it led on into the training camp.

"It was a matter of just putting my mind to it and going out and doing it and playing free and still learning. And having a quick learning curve, which I knew I had to do coming into the NBA, so it worked out for me." Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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