Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has had a busy summer to say the least. After hiring Butler’s Brad Stevens, and acquiring multiple picks for future drafts, he is setting the foundation for a post-Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett era in Boston. As Ainge begins a new chapter in the franchise’s road to banner No. 18, his son Crew is starting to establish himself as a high school basketball prospect.
Crew, one of six children, has been a big stock riser in New England this summer. He entered the spring healthy — after dealing with a nagging wrist injury — and in shape, which has made him become a reliable part to the New England Playaz AAU team.
“Due to my wrist, I was out of shape,” Ainge told NBC Sports. “Now, I’m getting back; getting stronger.
“I just think my confidence is up a lot. I’ve been working really hard, and it’s starting to pay off.”
Being the son of an NBA executive obviously has its perks, such as access to the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham, Mass. But don’t be fooled, Crew is drawing college interest through his own work ethic, not because of his last name. He’s gone from an energy guy to a player defenses need to account for. He can now make plays, as he can shots. He also possesses great instincts on the floor and still maintains that high motor, which in return makes him a better overall player.
“Crew has worked really, really hard to get in the best shape of his life,” Crew’s older brother Austin told NBC Sports. “His energy and toughness on the court, I think, is a direct result of his conditioning.”
Austin, the Celtics Director of Player Personnel, attributes the rise in Crew’s game to his season at prep school. This fall the 5-foot-11 Crew enrolled at Kimball Union (N.H.), playing alongside top-50 recruit Abdul-Malik Abu. But before he took to the hardwood with his new school, his basketball coach Michael Olson first made him hit the trails, running cross country in the fall.
“I give a lot of credit to his prep school coach,” Austin told NBC Sports. “He was a big difference.”
The hard work has paid off as Crew has heard from Marist, Brown, Columbia and Fairfield, in addition to Holy Cross and Northeastern — two schools he visited this spring.
“I have no offers yet, but I’m hearing from a lot of the local schools,” Ainge added. “I’m not really paying attention to it. It should take care of itself.”
Of course, his father, along with his siblings, attended BYU. Despite the family legacy, Crew isn’t solely focused on going to Provo, Utah for college … he’s keeping his options open at the moment. And his family is supportive of whatever school he decides to attend.
“Crew can go wherever he wants,” said Austin, who played at BYU. “We want the best spot for him.
“We’re letting him handle it on his own. We want him to experience this, and go through it. We’re always here to answer questions. But Crew pretty much has it figured out.”
The Ainges are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since Crew repeated his sophomore year when he entered Kimball Union, he will be eligible to go on his mission once he graduates from high school. Crew, who’s brother Cooper recently left for his two-year mission, told NBC Sports that he will likely begin his college career as a member of the Class of 2017, though, that is subject to change.
“The most likely scenario is me going after my senior year,” Ainge said. “That’s what it’s looking like right now.”
Whether it’s the fall of 2015 or 2017 when Crew starts college, he, like his father, will look back to the summer of 2013 as influential times in their respective basketball careers.