Jaye Crockett wants to see people is his hometown of Clovis, New Mexico succeed.
For the former Texas Tech forward, basketball is his way to make that happen.
Crockett recently started Jaye Rock Athletics, where he hosts camps and works with kids from the age of 7 through high school on basketball.
But, his plans are bigger than a camp.
“It’s something me and my dad talked about,” Crockett said. “It came from me just wanting to build a new rec center in Clovis. I want it to have places where kids can be tutored as well as play basketball. Eventually I want it to get bigger where I can help them get scholarships. My dad said that I need to start somewhere.”
Corey Pickett, Crockett’s father, is an artist and did the artwork for Jaye Rock Athletics. Crockett is already utilizing his bachelor’s degree in mass communications and his master’s in sports management, which he’ll get in December.
“I love to see that,” Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “He’s well respected and I’m happy to help him. You have to understand what it means when you put your name on something like that. You’re invested.”
The next step
Crockett hasn’t gotten any calls.
“This is the time I’m expecting a call from the NBA, but it’s been slow, which is confusing and stressing me out,” he said. “I just try to stay optimistic, work hard and pray.”
Crockett spent a week in Las Vegas working out with Marshall Greer. His agent, Michael Hart, is out of Vegas as well. During that time, he learned what he needed to work on to get to the next level.
With the depth of this draft class, Crockett knows he won’t get drafted.
“It’s always tough,” Smith said. “We’re trying to help him find a place whether it’s talking to general managers, scouts or calling people I know in the NBA.”
But there are other options, like free agency. From July 11-21 in Las Vegas, high draft picks as well as undrafted rookies try to make their mark in the NBA Summer League. If Crockett receives an invitation to play and impresses an NBA organization, he could go to a team’s training camp in the fall.
Crockett will also play in a showcase overseas on July 11 that is put on by his agent.
“I feel like playing in Europe would broaden my horizons,” he said. “All I just want to do is learn. All my life has been from the American perspective. Living overseas would make me think differently. Going over there would help me learn a lot about life, not just basketball. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity.”
Overseas, Crockett expects to swing from small to power forward while he would only play small forward in the NBA.
“I’ve been working on shooting and getting my range,” Crockett said. “I have a good mid-range. Now I’m just working on my 3-pointer from NBA range, ball handling, taking people off the dribble and scoring.”
So far, Ireland, Belgium and Spain have showed interest in Crockett but he hasn’t finalized any deals. He plans on waiting and receiving more then compare the living space and the money before he makes his decision.
“Overseas I could make $20 thousand a month,” Crockett said. “You could make a lot more over there and it’s tax free. They take care of your housing and car. My agent is telling me right now that it would range from $60 thousand to $150 thousand a year.”
Getting a look
Crockett flew under the radar at Texas Tech.
He finished his career No. 24 on the all-time scoring list after leading the Red Raiders in scoring for the second straight season with 13.9 points per game.
“Us losing hasn’t helped at all,” Crockett said. “I just want an opportunity to get in front of their faces and show what type of player I am and show my intelligence and intangibles. I’m not real picky. I just want to be involved.”
He redshirted his first season (2009-10). Over the next four years, the Red Raiders went 46-80 through four different coaches.
“There was no consistency here,” Crockett said. “That didn’t help at all. I definitely was blessed to end on a good year. Coach Smith has helped a lot.”
The biggest advice Smith said he can give to Crockett is not to compare himself with anyone else because there’s usually something else going on that is unknown.
“He’s a very humble young man who is comfortable in his own skin and with who he is,” Smith said. “He wants more. He’s driven. He’s competitive. He wants to be at a professional level. I think he will play at a professional level whether that be in the D-League, overseas or in the NBA.”
Even though Crockett’s frustrated by the lack of calls, that silence of his phone is pushing him to work harder.
But instead of working hard to prove his worth, he’s trying his hardest to earn the opportunity to give back to his family and community.
“My family’s shown me a lot of support and has sacrificed a lot so I can get to where I want to get. I want to have a successful career to help my family and my city,” Crockett said. “I really want to try and improve and give my opportunity to the kids because I’m in a position where I have power.
“I want to provide for the people I care about and where I’m from.”
Going home again
Yvette Gardner-Pickett was trying to get her son to use up some of his energy.
So, she introduced Crockett to basketball. Soon, he fell in love with the game.
“That passion became part of me,” Crockett said. “I had to play basketball.”
Crockett went on to become the second-leading scorer in Clovis history. The leading scorer by one point, former Tech player and assistant coach Bubba Jennings,
recruited Crockett to Tech, only an hour and a half from Clovis.
His family’s support helped Crockett stay at Tech.
“That was the only reason I stayed at Tech,” Crockett said. “When I wanted to quit I would talk to my dad and grandma every night when I was stressed. My family was there for me and told me that I could get through whatever came my way. My family’s been a huge part of my success in my life.”
And so has his hometown. Clovis named Tuesday, Feb. 4 “Jaye Crockett Day,” and honored him for his athleticism, sportsmanship, charity and character.
“My city has embraced me a lot,” Crockett said. “They’re letting me know that they’re proud of me and the success I’ve had. People have made it out of Clovis before, and this is just the beginning. We’re going to do bigger things and give more people opportunities. We’re going to have famous singers, scientists and lawyers.
“Clovis needs to produce more productive people, and I want to help do that.”
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Jaye Rock Camp
When: Saturday, June 28
Where: Rock Staubus Gymnasium, Clovis, NM
First Session: Children ages 7-11 from 8-10 a.m.
Second Session: Children ages 12-18 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Nicholas Talbot’s Mock Draft
1. Cleveland: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
2. Milwaukee: Jabari Parker, Duke
3. Philadelphia: Dante Exum, Austrailia
4. Orlando: Joel Embiid, Kansas
5. Utah: Noah Vonleh, Indiana
6. Boston: Aaron Gordon, Arizona
7. L.A. Lakers: Julius Randle, Kentucky
8. Sacramento: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
9. Charlotte: Doug McDermott, Creighton
10. Philadelphia: Dario Saric, Croatia
11. Denver: Nik STauskas, Michigan
12. Orlando: Eifrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette
13. Minnesota: Gary Harris, Michigan State