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Drew Crabtree, senior on the Ohio University basketball team, poses for a protrait (ALEXANDRIA SKOWRONSKI | FOR THE POST)

Men's Basketball: Drew Crabtree, Ohio's "glue guy"

Drew Crabtree's career isn't the most impressive, on paper. 

The senior, has only totaled 48 minutes in three seasons. That accounts for just over one full game. 

He also only has 14 points throughout his career — all 3-pointers, plus two free throws. In fact, he's only attempted one 2-point field goal.

But long after Jaaron Simmons and Jason Carter and everyone else on the Bobcats roster is gone, long after graduations have passed and stats are finalized, they'll all remember Crabtree.

"What do you say about a guy who’s friends with everybody on the team?" coach Saul Phillips said. "He takes a kid from Detroit home to the farm with him over Christmas, they do whatever they do on the farm. He just stretches across the whole locker room, his words carry weight, just a super nice kid."

For a walk-on to have that kind of presence on a team seems unusual, especially given his almost nonexistent influence during games. 

“We have a pretty good relationship," Sam Frayer said of Crabtree. "When I was a freshman, the new walk-on, it was hard. Drew helped guide me, let me know what I had to do. He’s never been one to boss you around. He’s always been a good friend and someone that you can go to.”

Crabtree's fame as a walk-on has risen to a near-cult-like following amongst the Ohio fanbase, too. 

Whenever the game is out of reach, whether Ohio is winning or losing, the crowd begins to chant and scream for Crabtree. And when he enters the game, it's a whole different story.

The bench stands up at an attempted shot, the crowd rises in excitement during the final few minutes, all in anticipation to see the walk-on they adore make one 3-pointer, just one chance to cheer again.

"I really appreciate the O Zone, they give me a lot of love," Crabtree said. "I don’t know why, but I’ll take it. They’re hyped the whole game, but it’s nice, those, 'we want Crabtree' chants make you feel good."

That hasn't gone unnoticed by others on the team, either. Frayer, a junior, knows time is running out on Crabtree's career. So, when the two enter the game together, he often passes to Crabtree to get him to score.

“This year has just been getting Drew a bucket — he likes to pass the ball a little too much," Frayer said. “He wants to facilitate and get everyone the ball. I really want him to be selfish. We get in Senior Night, you’ll see some pretty selfish stuff.”

When Crabtree enters the game on Senior Night, he'll play alongside another senior — one whose life Crabtree is about to make a permanent impact on.

* * *

Kenny Kaminski met Crabtree in an open gym in 2014. Kaminski had just transferred to Ohio from Michigan State.

"He wasn’t that talkative," Crabtree said. "I didn’t think we’d end up being best friends, we just kind of talked small talk, like ‘What’s up, I’m Kenny,' 'Oh, what’s up, I’m Drew.' "

As the two began to hang out more, they realized they had more in common than they thought. They have similar tattoos about a tragedy in each of their lives.

Crabtree's tattoo is angel wings with "22" on it, in memory of his sister, who passed away from cancer. Kaminski's tattoo is for his best friend, who passed away when he was younger.

“Honestly, we both experienced loss at different points of our lives," Kaminski said. "I think that bond brought us really close together."

As the two forged a bond, Kaminski began to shine on the floor in the 2015 season, his junior year. He started all 33 games and averaged 12.6 points per game. Crabtree played nine minutes in the entire season.

Yet, Crabtree was there the entire way.

"He’s the ultimate teammate, the guy that’s always there for anybody ... the best way to say it is that he’s just an awesome teammate," Kaminski said.

The two weren't just best friends on the court; they became friends off it. Kaminski is engaged to former soccer and current softball player Alexis Milesky — and Crabtree will be the best man.

“He’s my best friend," Kaminski said. "He knew Lexi from high school, they already had a pretty solid friendship before that; he got to experience all the growth that I got to experience with Lexi, just in a different kind of way.”

The Bobcats' season is now just a handful of games away from being over, whether it ends in victory or defeat. But even if Crabtree doesn't enter any of the games, he'll have to be there for Kaminski, as he always has been. There's a wedding to tend to.

* * *

Crabtree knew one thing about Phillips when he made the trip from Fargo, North Dakota, to Athens for the 2014 season. 

“When he got here, the only thing I knew about him was that he was the guy that ran across the court (on 'One Shining Moment')," Crabtree said, laughing.

That might make it that much harder, however, to say goodbye.

"Since day one, he’s come in here and been an amazing coach," Crabtree said. "He develops relationships on a personal level first, along with coaching. That really helps; I’ve developed a ton as a player.”

As Crabtree says goodbye to The Convo on Senior Night, Friday night against Miami, he'll have to leave behind a team that will, quite frankly, just look different without him on the end of the bench. 

"It’s starting to become real," Crabtree said. "I’m starting to realize I might never get to play again, score again, hear 'We want Crabtree!' It’s bittersweet, though, because I’ve had such a great ride with this career. It’s not that I’m ready for it to be done, but I can’t complain about my journey.”

And once the game starts, he'll take his place on the Ohio bench for the first 37 minutes or so against Miami. But maybe, just maybe, if the Bobcats jump out to a big lead, Crabtree can hit the floor as those chants rain down on him once again. 

The PA announcer will proclaim:

"Now entering the game for the Bobcats ... Drew! Crabtree!"

And the crowd will roar again. One last time. 


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