NBA

NBA AM: Crabbe Product of Grandfather’s Legacy

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High school is a formative time for everybody, whether the experience is generally positive or a four-year, soul-crushing disaster. Like it or not, what happens to us in high school becomes a huge part of who we are, and we can’t escape the tremendous role it plays in shaping our identities as burgeoning adults.

For Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe, however, his time at Frederick K.C. Price III High School in Los Angeles, CA, was particularly influential – not only because he put himself on the national recruiting map despite the school’s small stature in one of the Union’s largest states, but also because the school was founded by his grandfather.

“I always knew I’d go to school there,” Crabbe told Basketball Insiders. “I could’ve left in high school, but the school that I was going to go to wasn’t good in basketball compared to the school I had already went to, so I just stayed there at my grandfather’s school.”

Plenty of elite high school prospects transfer to high-powered athletic academies in their final year or two of prep eligibility to really draw the attention of the elite Division I universities. Every season it seems like there are at least one or two McDonald’s All-Americans coming off stints at Findlay Prep or Oak Hill Academy, but transferring never even crossed Crabbe’s mind, particularly after having been a Price student since pre-school. The familial bonds after a lifetime in one influential school system were just too strong.

“I was comfortable there,” he said. “I was there my whole entire life, so I really didn’t see any reason for me to leave. When I was younger, in ninth grade, I was kind of nervous about being able to get the exposure here at this smaller school. But things still worked themselves out. I guess coaches, when they need to find talent, they can find it, so I was blessed and fortunate to be able to get a scholarship and make a name for myself.”

Crabbe did just fine despite the small stage, but even that took a little bit of luck.

“Price had talented people years before me, but nobody really went anywhere to play basketball,” Crabbe said. “Because it’s a small school, small division, I didn’t really get to play a lot of bigger California teams, so we really wouldn’t get that exposure.”

He got his exposure almost tangentially, as it was a teammate’s growing prestige that got scouts in the building to accidentally get a look at the kid who would ultimately become the real prize.

“My freshman year we had a kid that started to get a lot of interest from schools, so because of him, colleges started coming over to our school,” Crabbe said. “They started seeing other people on our team and seeing what we can do, but traveling basketball also plays a big factor too. In that case, the only thing coaches have to do is ask what school you go to. Then they come out, see you practice and see you play. So it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would’ve been.”

Scouts will find the talent no matter where it is, especially when a player’s list of high school accolades runs almost as long as Meryl Streep’s Oscar nominations. As a senior, Crabbe was named the ESPN California State Player of the Year in 2010 and earned several All-American and Player of the Year honors his senior season, which just so happened to culminate in a California State Division IV Championship.

The school really did want what was best for Crabbe—his coach and the school’s athletic director Mike Lynch is Crabbe’s godfather—but higher-profile high schools come sniffing around kids like Crabbe all the time.

Still, even if there were more striking opportunities it’s hard to imagine Crabbe having left an institution that meant so much to his family. While his grandfather, Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, founded the church in Inglewood, CA, that would ultimately lead to the establishment of the school in 1986, the K-12 schools actually are named after Price’s son, Frederick K.C. Price III, who died suddenly and tragically at the age of eight. That would have been Crabbe’s uncle.

“I think my grandfather had a good following from that first church, and I think [my grandparents and my aunt] just came up with a vision to have a school,” Crabbe said. “My grandfather’s oldest son had passed away. He got hit by a car. So they ended up naming the school after him.”

Crabbe’s grandfather is now retired, but he’s still an active presence in his life.

“He’s around, still a big part of my life,” he said. “He’ll do church sermons every now and then, just like, ‘I’ll preach today,’ or something like that. But you know, he still travels to other places, he may speak at other churches and stuff like that.”

Price retired Crabbe’s #23 uniform back in January of 2015, which makes sense considering he’s the only player from the school thus far to have made it to the NBA. The fun coincidence is that he just so happens to be the founder’s grandson.

Of course, even though Crabbe now is an eight-figure earner in the world’s most prestigious basketball league, he still finds plenty of time to give back to the school that helped make him who he is.

“I like to go back whenever I get the opportunity to go back,” he said. “I just recently did some stuff with the basketball team up there. So yeah man, whatever I could do, whatever I can give back, I’m definitely doing it for the school.”

It’s the least he can do considering how much that school has done for him.

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About Joel Brigham

Joel Brigham

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.