It is time to meet guard Justin Crosgile. The 5-foot-11 guard from DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, N.J. was named co-MVP of the recent Eddie Griffin Challenge last month and he's quickly emerging out of the always talented north Jersey corridor.
Crosgile, a scoring point guard, said he knew how big the stage was at the challenge and wanted to bring the bragging rights back to New Jersey.
"We had to bring it home. They took it from us last year," Crosgile said. "It was really good playing against all of the top players in Philly. Getting a chance to play with the top players in Jersey was great."
Crosgile was great in the game, scoring 14 points, grabbing five steals and handing out four assists en route to top honors in the junior game. After averaging 22 points and five assists as a sophomore last year at DePaul Catholic, Crosgile said he is ready for the season ahead of him this year.
"It's going to be tough defending the title but I know we have to work hard in practice and we have to get focused and be ready to run because we're not that big this year," Crosgile said. "The expectations are big. We have a lot of pressure on our back. We were going after everybody last year and now this year everybody is going after us. So, we have to come out and play real hard.
"This season is real important. I'm looking forward to this season. I want score my 1,000th point. I want to win another title. The pressure is now on me because I'm an upperclassman. The team is going to look to me so I have to set the example on and off the court."
Off the court, the junior is starting to see the fruits of his labors. A number of schools have jumped into the mix with him and he said he picked up a scholarship offer from St. Joseph's after the Eddie Griffin Challenge. Houston and Penn State have also offered a scholarship.
Marquette, Xavier, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Michigan, Rutgers and St. John's are also involved in one way or another.
"There are a lot of them now," Crosgile said. "Seton Hall sends letters all the time. There is not one day that they don't."
Crosgile said he isn't ready to trim his list or even consider where he'll be at in college.
"I still have two more years. When I talk to a college coach, they usually say, 'Whenever we are done (with the 2008 class), you are our number one recruit (in 2009).' Some schools said they want to offer me early just to show how interested they are. When it comes down to it, you can say, 'Well they were the first to offer me and showed the most interest.' Some say I can start if I want it. There is a lot of things to look at. It's real hard," Crosgile said.
"I don't try to think about too much. But when the time comes, I'll think about it more. I want to get better this year. That's my focus. But I'll be honest, I've always wanted to go to NC State. I grew up watching that school. I just like them and their environment. I've been there before and I like their style of play."
Now that he is doing work and people are noticing, more opportunities are certainly coming and he's ready to do his part to justify the interest.