Augusta Prep head basketball coach Mike Guthrie has held the reins of the Cavalier boy's basketball program for only two years.
After attending West Point and playing under Mike Krzyzewski, now head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, Guthrie brought the Krzyzewski system to Augusta Prep and is seeing the dividends in the form of senior point guard Michael Crosland.
"We knew Michael certainly was going to be the go-to guy for us," Guthrie said. "It's not just his ability to score, but his dribbling and defense are also key."
The senior is the most all-around complete basketball player at Augusta Prep. His 15.3 points per game leads all of Region 4-AAA and ranks fourth in the entire Georgia Independent Schools Association.
As the team's starting point guard, Crosland also leads the region with 3.8 assists per game and averages 2.4 steals per game.
It all adds up to a basketball player who fits right into his Krzyzewski-influenced system, Guthrie said.
"I follow his philosophy of a team man-to-man defense," Guthrie said. "Michael plays great defense and is very coachable and disciplined. He's the one player we have with the basketball skills to play at the next level."
Crosland showed those skills on Dec. 17 when the Cavaliers played host to in-county rival Augusta Christian. Although Augusta Prep lost the game, Crosland lit up the Lions for 30 points. The senior drained two half-court shots, though one was waved off by an official who said Crosland's heave didn't beat the buzzer.
"I don't know. It was close," Crosland said. "He could have given it to me just to be nice."
The 30 points is a season high for Crosland, but his athletic skills don't stop on the basketball court. He's also an All-Region soccer player and won a state championship last year on the tennis team. In the classroom, his 3.8 grade point average remains steady despite taking on three Advanced Placement courses this school year.
"I've got to have something to do," Crosland said. "I just like to play."
Augusta Prep wrapped up the first half of regular season play last week with six wins, and have last season's 15-win total in their sights.
In a school that annually competes at the state level in soccer and tennis, both Guthrie and Crosland said they're looking to change the way people look at Augusta Prep hoops.
"We're not expected to get very far in basketball," Crosland said. "It's frustrating when there is no expectation at all. It's nice to prove people wrong."
Crosland and the rest of the Cavaliers will get that chance soon. Augusta Prep will begin their Region 4-AAA play next week with games against Westminster Schools of Augusta and John Milledge Academy.
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