By Teddy Greenstein, Tribune reporter
7:28 PM EDT, April 19, 2013
Drew Crawford will return to Northwestern for final year of eligibility, a coup for new coach Chris Collins.
It means the Wildcats will have a decent shot to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. And with a good 2013-14 season, Collins would get the recruiting momentum his program needs.
Collins sounded confident Monday that Crawford would return, telling the Tribune: “I’m waiting for Drew to walk into my office and say, ‘I’m all-in. Let’s go.’ I want him to be the star player and leader, and guys want to follow him.”
Marquette and Missouri had sought Crawford’s services, but he had been taking part in NU’s offseason workouts.
“Coach Collins has brought great energy to the program and we all believe in his vision,” Crawford said in a statement. “I have loved my experience here at NU and I'm proud to call it home.”
The 6-foot-5 Crawford made third-team all-Big Ten as a junior after averaging 16.1 points per game. He opted for right shoulder surgery 10 games into last season and received a medical hardship waiver to receive a fifth year of eligibility. As a graduate student next season, he could have left Northwestern and played right away at another school.
He enters his final season ranked 10th in school history with 1,418 career points.
An economics major, Crawford intends to pursue his master's degree in sports firstname.lastname@example.org
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