By Joseph Staszewski
His place in Xavier High School’s history was closer than Kevin Crockett realized.
The Breezy Point native and basketball guard was told by his friends coming into last Friday’s home game against St. Francis Prep that he had to score 23 points to become the school’s first boys’ basketball player to hit the 1,000 point mark since 1977.
But Crockett really needed just 13. When a late third-quarter shot got a reaction from attendees, he questioned the collective “Ooh” from the crowd.
“I was like, ‘Why is everyone flipping out? It’s just one shot,’” said Crockett, a three-year varsity player.
The senior quickly found out when center Jason Pretto passed out a rebound and Crockett fittingly hit a three-pointer to reach the milestone. The game halted, and Xavier Coach Joe McGrane shook Crockett’s hand, informing Crockett of his accomplishment. The senior scored 20 points in a victory over the Terriers.
“When I hit it, everyone started freaking out,” Crockett said.
The attention is something he never craved. Crockett is a blue-collar kid known as much for the number of offensive fouls he commits as three-pointers he makes.
His resolve had to strengthen and he matured even more when Hurricane Sandy displaced his family from their home on Beach 219th Street in Breezy Point for seven months. There was water damage to the basement and first floor, and the roof needed to be fixed. His grandmother was forced to leave her home, and his father’s house was completely knocked down.
His mother, Cathy Crockett, the former Bishop Kearney girls’ basketball player, moved her sons Kevin and Matt Crockett to an apartment in Marine Park, Brooklyn. Kevin Crockett was told to concentrate on his schoolwork and basketball as she took care of their Breezy Point house.
She saw him become more independent and felt basketball gave him an escape. A number of his teammates had also been displaced from their homes.
“There are things that happen that make you grow up a little bit quicker,” Cathy Crockett said. “I think [basketball] was a huge help to have that every day.”
Xavier Coach Joe McGrane said Kevin Crockett’s leadership on both ends of the floor has never been better. He’s an efficient scorer, shooting 57 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point range and 92 percent from the free throw line.
But McGrane is more impressed with the strides Crockett has made on defense. It is his ability to do the other things on the court that has exceeded McGrane’s expectations. Crockett’s work ethic is indicative of the neighborhood he comes from.
“He’s a pretty quiet kid until he gets on the floor,” McGrane said of Crockett’s toughness and vocal play.
Crockett enjoyed the individual accomplishment of reaching 1,000 points, but is more focused on leading his team to a city title. The Knights are 20-3 overall, and placed second in the CHSAA Class A division behind defending Catholic state champion Nazareth.
“We really want to win the whole thing this year, [we] knew we had a chance,” Crockett said. “I’m glad that I am playing well this year and contribute to that. Our whole team is playing really well.”