John Crosby is a man of his word.
There have been times the backup point guard for the Dayton Flyers has struggled this season — both with the accuracy of his shooting and the number of his turnovers — and because of it, he has been critiqued, tainted and dissed on social media and on a website for Flyers fans.
Finally, on Jan. 29, the sophomore from Baltimore posted what turned out to be the perfect response on his Twitter account.
“Haters Want Me Mention They Name and Give Them Violence, I Rather Kill Them All With Success & Give Them Knowledge!” he wrote.
And that’s just what he did Tuesday night in an 83-70 victory over George Mason at UD Arena.
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Crosby came off the bench and in just 12 minutes made all three of the 3-pointers he took and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and zero turnovers.
“Everyone has wanted to make a little bit of a big deal, but it’s no secret, you have to earn confidence,” coach Archie Miller said in his postgame assessment of Crosby. “By doing some things in a game, you give yourself confidence.”
Miller talked about all the plays Crosby makes in practice but said “for whatever reason, he just hasn’t had the confidence (in games). Part of it is opportunity, you got to get it.
“And he cashed in tonight.
“He probably won the game for us!”
Crosby admitted it may have been his best performances of this 22-5 season:
“Yeah, in terms of confidence, I felt I was really playing my game. I made the right reads and didn’t have any turnovers. I played the right way and had a great feel for it. And Coach kept going to me, so, yeah, it was one of my better games.
“Today you got to see some of the work I’ve been putting into my game.”
He said he has spent extra time in the gym working on his shot and his ball-handling. For him it wasn’t just a way to improve, but a way to cope with the always anonymous “haters,” as he called them.
“I really, honestly, don’t pay attention to all that,” he claimed before adding some amendment. “But of course it gets to me somehow, some way.
“When I see it, I get in the gym and work even harder.
“I understand we live in the era of social media. That’s an important way for people to voice their opinion.
“Just like someone’s got an opinion about me, even now they still might not think I’m good after this game. I try not to dwell on it. And I knew these guys (his teammates) believe in me and the coaches believe in me.”
“I don’t worry what someone else was sayin’ about me. I knew my time would come.
He said it doesn’t matter how you start (a season), it’s how you finish:
“If I played every game in the first 20 bad and had turnovers and played awful, then played a lot better in the last five, that’s what’s really important. You got better as the season went.
“There are a lot of ups and downs in life, whoever you are. Everybody goes through them. The thing is to hang in there and get better and perform. And tonight I did. I felt good out there. I felt comfortable and I just played.”
Nights like this stirred memories in Crosby of a time when he was overly confident and could do little wrong on the basketball court.
His junior year at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute he averaged nearly a triple-double for the season. It’s the prep season that put him on the radar of some colleges and it’s just one more reason he has such a love affair with his hometown.
He showed that when he pulled down the front of his Flyers jersey and showed off the new tattoo he got this past summer.
“The skyline of Baltimore,” he said proudly of the panoramic ink job across his chest. Atop it in big numbers was 410, the area code of Baltimore.
So what about Dayton. Where’s the tat for that?
“Dayton’s right here,” he said, pointing to his heart.
“I love UD Arena. I love playing here. I love the fans. I love everything about the place.”
And on this night all of Dayton loved him back.
When Miller took him out late in the second half, many in the crowd gave him a rousing send-off.
“It’s always great when you get a standing ovation coming off the court,” he said with a big smile. “It’s something I could get used to.”