The choice players make when they a pick a school to play for can have a positive or negative impact on their development as players. It is not a “one size fits all” situation, and playing at a smaller school can be very beneficial to many players, especially in allowing them to develop at their own pace. Not many people will say they are familiar with University of South Carolina-Upstate, but forward Torrey Craig hopes to change that.
Craig has been an integral part of the Spartans’ program for the past 4 seasons. His freshman season, he finished the year averaging over 14 points, grabbing over 7 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. He showed improvement each year after that, and he finished his career by putting up his best all-around season. Craig finished his senior year with almost 17 points and over 7 rebounds per game, while also adding over 2 assists per game. Against a Tennessee team which went to the Sweet 16, Craig scored 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting, while also grabbing 7 rebounds. In 3 games this season against Mercer, who beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament, Craig averaged over 22 points per game, including 11 of 23 from three-point range.
The four seasons at USC-Upstate did a lot to make Craig a better player. “I matured a lot and became more of a team player,” said Craig. “When I first got to college, I wasn’t much of a team player, but learning how to handle adversity forced me to change.” Craig’s game also matured over the four years in college. “My ability to hit the mid-range jumper really came along, and I dramatically improved guarding the ball.”
Since his season ended, Craig has been working on getting ready for the next step in his career. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on ballhandling and getting in the weight room,” Craig said. “I want to get much faster and stronger to be able to compete at a higher level.”
As Craig prepares to work out for professional teams, he understands what parts of his game will translate well to the next level. “I am at my best in transition, either getting baskets myself or creating for my teammates,” said Craig. “I am effective coming off of screens and I can stretch the floor by knocking down shots.”
Craig knows his shooting will be critical at the next level and he is focused on making it better. “I need to be a more consistent shooter,” explained Craig. “I go through too many ups and downs with my shot, and I need to work on hitting more open jumpers.”
As his game continues to improve, Craig believes he has a lot to offer while that improvement goes on. “I can come in and be an energy guy,” said Craig. “I’m always rebounding, always going after loose balls, and doing what I can to help my team win.”
It’s a long road ahead for Craig, but he think having played at a smaller school in the Atlantic Sun conference has helped him prepare in ways a bigger school couldn’t. “I’ve learned to be more patient because other teams were focused on stopping me at Upstate,” Craig said. “I’ve had the chance to learn how to pick out my opportunities, and it has helped me to see and understand the game more.”
No matter where he stats the next stage of his career, Craig is ready to give the same full effort he did in college. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and handle any role that I’m asked to,” said Craig. “I have always been a team person, will work for everything I get, and bring positive energy and a positive attitude to everything I do.”
This is Craig’s formula for success and I have no doubt he will make a positive impact wherever he plays.
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