David Crisp dances in airports.
Like, for real. By himself. In the middle of the terminal. For proof, consult the Washington Huskies men’s basketball Twitter account, which on Saturday night, not long after UW’s 89-85 victory at Arizona State, posted a video of the freshman guard and Tacoma native going berserk in the terminal at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, backpack on and headphones blaring.
That particular number, Crisp said, is a version of the “Milly Rock,” a song and simple two-step dance by Brooklyn rapper 2Milly released in August 2014. But Crisp adds his own twist to it: a furious hand motion similar to that of a basketball official making a traveling call, followed by several one-handed, side-to-side swatting motions.
He explains, in true Crisp fashion, complete with a reference to DJ Khaled’s Snapchat account: “I wind it up, and then — they don’t want to see you succeed. I can’t tell you who ‘they’ is. So you’ve got to wind it up, and you’re smackin’ ‘they.’ ”
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“He’s just a silly guy, a goofy dude,” says fellow freshman teammate and friend Dejounte Murray, who played with Crisp at Rainier Beach. “But he’s a fun person to be around, and a fun person to have in this program.”
This is Crisp, every day. And the zany, energetic, 6-foot alumnus of both Clover Park and Rainier Beach high schools is starting to apply that same brash demeanor on the court, where he averages 10.1 points per game for a Huskies team that will enter Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home game against Colorado tied for the Pac-12 lead.
Before his one-man dance party, Crisp made two crucial 3-pointers in the Huskies’ victory at Arizona State. They came on consecutive possessions, they accounted for all six of the lefty’s points, and they extended UW’s lead from three to nine points, 7 minutes into the second half after a 6-0 Sun Devils run.
Afterward, UW coach Lorenzo Romar identified those shots as the game’s turning point. And those weren’t the first important shots Crisp has made this season. In UW’s Pac-12-opening, 96-93 double overtime win against UCLA, Crisp made a 3-pointer with 38.9 seconds left in the final overtime to put the Huskies ahead by four points. In UW’s comeback win over USC two days later, he made a crucial 3-pointer during the Huskies’ run that erased a 22-point deficit.
Crisp is shooting 35.7 percent from 3-point range, third-best on the team. But his pure, left-handed stroke always seems to hit at the right times.
“We’ve told him from Day 1: ‘you’ve got the green light, David,’ ” Romar said Tuesday. “We just don’t want early, contested shots. I think good scorers and good shooters every now and then will take a bad shot. And as far as I’m concerned, we’ll give you that. Every now and then, that’s going to happen.
“But we want scorers and shooters to play with the utmost confidence, and that’s a process to learn how to do that. That’s a balance. But he does, he plays with a lot of confidence, which is good.”
When Crisp was at Rainier Beach, prior to spending a year at Brewster Academy on the East Coast, he decided along with Murray and teammate Djuan Piper that the trio would stay home and attend UW together.
It didn’t work out for Piper, but Crisp and Murray are both here. There might have been nervous times for the UW coaching staff during Crisp’s time at Brewster — he said a few other colleges contacted Brewster coach Jason Smith about Crisp’s availability — but he stayed committed to the Huskies.
UW assistant Raphael Chillious said earlier this season that sometimes, Smith would call him with a head’s up that another school had inquired about Crisp.
But, Chillious said, “every time, he would say, ‘your boy doesn’t flinch.’ ”
It’s the same mentality he displays when it’s time to pull the trigger on an important 3-pointer.
“I play with a lot of confidence,” Crisp said, “and I feel like every shot I take is going in.”
Colorado (14-4, 3-2 Pac-12) at Washington (12-5, 4-1)
7 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle
TV: Pac-12 Network. Radio: 1000-AM, 97.7-FM.
All-time series: Washington leads, 10-9.
Statistics for 2015-16:
40 Josh Scott, F (6-10, sr.): 17.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg
24 George King, G (6-6, so.): 13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
44 Josh Fortune, G (6-5, jr.): 10.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg
15 Dominique Collier, F (6-2, so.): 8.0 ppg, 3.3 apg
1 Wesley Gordon, F (6-9, jr.): 6.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg
12 Andrew Andrews, G (6-2, sr.): 21.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.0 apg
5 Dejounte Murray, G (6-4 1/2, fr.): 15.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.7 apg
4 Matisse Thybulle, G (6-5, fr.): 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
15 Noah Dickerson, F (6-8, fr.): 8.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg
0 Marquese Chriss, F (6-9, fr.): 11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Scouting report: This is an important game for the Huskies, and not just because it comes against a talented Pac-12 opponent — Colorado is ranked 22nd in the most recent Ratings Percentage Index, compared to No. 62 for UW, so a victory could go a long way toward enhancing that figure for the Huskies. … Colorado was picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 preseason media poll after limping to a 16-18 final record last season and a 7-11 finish in Pac-12 play. But the Buffaloes have bounced back, thanks largely to the play of senior forward Josh Scott, a 6-foot-10 post player who ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring behind UW point guard Andrew Andrews. Scott also ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in rebounding, and will be a challenge for the Huskies’ frontcourt to defend. “He’s a senior, his back is fine, his health is fine, and he seems to me to be even quicker,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot now. And then they complement that with some guys that can really knock the 3-ball down.” … As a team, the Buffaloes shoot a higher percentage from 3-point range (39.2) than every Pac-12 team except USC, and four of their starters shoot 42.5 percent or better. … Colorado is the eighth-best field-goal shooting team in the league and has the league’s fifth-best field-goal percentage defense. … Last week, the Buffaloes swept Oregon State and Oregon at home after losing to Utah at home the week prior.