The Toronto Raptors agreed to a deal with former Northwestern guard Drew Crawford, the team announced Thursday. After finishing as a top-10 scorer in Israel for Bnei Hertzeliyya, Crawford received an invitation to play for the Raptors in the NBA Las Vegas summer league. Crawford played in five games for Toronto, averaging 8 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the field.
Despite receiving a contract from the Raptors, Crawford is not guaranteed a spot on the roster to begin the season, as the team currently has 18 players listed on its roster, three more than the 15 allowed at the start of the season.
The Wildcats haven’t had a player on a NBA roster during the regular season since Evan Eschmeyer played 17 games for the Dallas Mavericks in 2003. Toronto coach Dwane Casey said Crawford was very close to making the team last year, but fell just short. However, the guard impressed the team this time around with his combination of high-intensity on-ball defense and his ability to create his own shot.
Crawford, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds for NU, will have to compete with the likes of Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell for a role with the team. Wright, a standout at Utah, was a first-round pick in 2015 and Powell was drafted in the second round in the same draft and flashed majorly with expanded playing time at the end of last season. Like Crawford, VanVleet went undrafted and will also have to prove his worth to the organization.
It will be difficult for Crawford to make the final roster for the Raptors, considering the already talented team is so deep at guard, but Crawford’s signing is promising for the future of Cats basketball and players who plan on playing beyond Welsh-Ryan.