It's been a long time since Trevion Crews was playing basketball for a team from Fort Wayne.
Crews was the 2014 SAC Player of the Year, leading North Side to a 24-2 mark and a sectional title that season. This weekend, he will being suiting up for the Fort Wayne Champs, the Summit City's entry into The Basketball Tournament, a summer hoops extravaganza with 64 teams and a $1 million winner-take-all prize for the victor.
Crews and the Champs open play in the Charleston, West Virginia, regional Sunday against PrimeTime Players. He is the first city native to play for the Champs.
“For me to be the first Fort Wayne guy to actually do it, it means a lot,” Crews said. “It's basically a city-on-my-shoulders type deal. I just want to make them proud and let them know that I can play.”
In the seven years since he starred for North Side, Crews had been a standout at two colleges and attended a third in between. His best work came with the Bethel Pilots of the Crossroads League, with whom he played the last three seasons, visiting the Summit City to take on conference rival Saint Francis several times.
While at Bethel, Crews was a two-time NAIA first-team All-American and led the Pilots to the Final Four this past season, during which he averaged a program-record 24.6 points. He poured in 29 during an Elite Eight win over No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan and Warsaw grad Kyle Mangas – who will play in TBT for Men of Mackey.
“I've been watching a lot of film on (Crews),” Champs coach Steve Gansey, who coached the Mad Ants from 2015 to 2020, said. “I'm interested to work with him. I like his athleticism, he's got a strong body and he's going to be playing some combo guard for us. Intrigued to get to know him a little more and see what he can do on the court.”
Crews is hoping to showcase his abilities at TBT as he tries to catch on in the professional ranks. The 6-foot, 180-pound guard became involved with the Fort Wayne Champs through his agent, Jeff Potter.
He is eager to play on a level beyond the NAIA competition. In the tournament, he'll be lining up across from former NBA and G League players, as well many who have played professional overseas.
“It's the will to win,” Crews said of what he's trying to showcase in the tournament. “Coaches wanna find guys who want to win and I bring that to the table night-in and night-out. That in itself should separate me from other guys.”
Crews is a do-it-all player. He topped 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists at Bethel. He also averaged 2.1 steals during his senior season.
He will likely be a facilitator with the Champs, capable of stepping out and shooting from long distance or running the pick-and-roll.
The former North Side star was not a great shooter in high school, but he has worked hard at his shot and made more than 200 3s at Bethel, helping him become a more complete scorer.
“My 3-point shot has become way better than it used to be,” Crews said. “I can shoot the ball from a long distance now and mentally, just being tough, I'm much more tough now.”
He will have to be as he prepares for a leap in competition.