E.A. Sports Today

Croft commits to Iowa JUCO

Anniston guard likes the idea of getting away, will join a growing list of Alabama players signed by team’s assistant with local ties

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Anniston guard Tray Croft wants to play basketball in a Division I program and then he wants to play in The League, but first he has to make a stop along the way.

Croft confirmed to East Alabama Sports Today on Saturday he has committed to Iowa Central CC, giving Tritons assistant coach Nathan West another Alabama steal.

West, an Anniston native and former Saks player, has parlayed his Alabama connections to land nine state signees in his previous two recruiting classes. More are anticipated this year.

Former Anniston player Qua Frazier and former Oxford player Deon Wright were on the roster this past season and both are receiving interest from smaller four-year schools. Among the Tritons outstanding offers is one to Gadsden City guard Kalin Johnson.

“I just kind of have a bias on the southern kids,” West said. “Nobody in our league really recruits Alabama and I do know a lot of those coaches and played college ball there, so I’ve always been around the state.

“As far as why do these kids come all the way to Iowa, It’s a couple different things, but really I just sell them on the opportunity. What really helps get these guys out of Alabama, besides the relationship, is the opportunity to go somewhere that basketball is focused on. And a lot of kids down there do get overlooked.

“When I’m going to look for a kid, I want a good citizen and somebody who really wants that opportunity and they don’t mind getting away.”

Croft chose Iowa Central over Eastern Florida, Lawson State and Snead State. He said he has had interest from Georgia and Auburn, but he’s going the JUCO for seasoning both athletically and academically.

“(The other three) are closer to home and I don’t really think the JUCOs down here … get any good looks (from Division I programs); I went with that,” Croft said. “It seemed like a good fit for me.”

Croft has yet to receive the letter of intent from the school, but said he’s likely to sign it immediately upon arrival and report in the fall.

In the meantime he is keeping busy athletically by running on the Anniston track team. He ran in a meet Saturday at Lincoln, finishing third in the 800 – his first individual race – and was part of the winning 4×400 relay team.

He plans to run the 400, 800 and two relays (4×400 and 4×800) in Tuesday’s Calhoun County Track & Field Championship.

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