News Centre

Mr Jason Crummer – basketball tactician


From being on football sidelines, to rugby fields and every school sports tournament you could imagine, most people know Mr Crummer as the College’s Director of Sport. But what many don’t realize is that he is actually a basketball tactician with much coaching experience and a basketball IQ that could see him as Head Coach of an ANBL franchise.

Mr Crummer has been in the coaching game for 19 years, coaching a mixture of boys and girls from the Under 11 age group all the way to the Under 23s. After a decade away from coaching representative hoops, with encouragement from his wife, Mr Crummer decided to go back. Instantly it seemed like he had never left. He led the Auckland U17 Premier Men’s basketball team to 19 wins out of 21 games, becoming Easter Tournament Champions, achieving third place in the Auckland Super City Tournament and being silver medalists at the Under 17 National Championships, consequently being named Team of the Year at the ABSL Senior Prize Giving. He also took the Auckland Premier U23s men’s team to silver at the recent Nationals. Mr Crummer’s impact didn’t go unnoticed with him taking home the Auckland Basketball Coach of the year award.

“I was stoked, over the moon. It’s kind of a reflection and reward for what the team’s accomplished this year. Those boys worked really hard. I put the challenge forward to them to actually increase their training and challenge them individually on certain aspects of the game and they jumped to it. I know I got the award personally but really it’s based on the results of the kids and what the players produced,” Mr Crummer said.

Mr Crummer’s introduction to basketball goes back to his high school days where he was a skilled player and key figure in the Auckland U19 team. After finishing school, he attended AUT and joined their basketball programme. After gaining his degree, he decided to stop playing and dedicated more of his time to coaching where he was still able to have a connection to the game. Mr Crummer spoke about what drives the undeniable passion that he has for the game saying, “For one I can coach and play in winter time and not get wet as apposed to coaching rugby. For me it’s just an exciting game to watch, to coach, and to play and no two games are the same… (I) just love the challenge that’s put forward to the players and seeing them rise to the occasion and trying to learn from when things don’t really go to plan.”

As a coach Mr Crummer gets to help develop a lot of young people and says that he’s always trying to remind his players how to act and present themselves as people off the court. “…One of the biggest values and things that I’m trying to build for my players is accountability, work ethic, attitude and character and those sorts of things…there’s a quote that I’ve really liked. (It says) “If you don’t train, you don’t deserve to win,” Mr Crummer explained.

Just by looking around at the number of students shooting hoops at lunch time, I think it’s fair to say that basketball is the most popular sport at the College. And as it continues to thrive, Mr Crummer talked about where he sees Sancta Maria College basketball going. “I see us getting very close to the Auckland Premier grade for the boys and certainly capable of making the Senior A grade which is Premier 2 for the girls. And I think that’s purely just based on numbers. We don’t have a huge number of girls playing basketball just yet but who knows what’ll happen in the next 5 or 6 seasons…they’re just so passionate and the parents are amazing, the community is awesome around basketball. Our greatest challenge is literally going to be size. We are very small compared to the other big schools…”

Mr Crummer believes that what will help our school basketball go further would be instilling in the players what it takes to be successful. He said that by getting the players to be aware of and appreciate the amount of work they need to put in to be great is important and that it also comes down to the development and quality of training that goes on, as well as the exposure of our school teams to top level tournaments such as the Regional and National Champs. Although he did say that the school is making exceptional progress.

He used the All Blacks as an example of a team who never rest on their laurels as he talked about how he gets his players to continue to put the work in and not become complacent. At one point in the season his U17 team was undefeated after winning just under a dozen matches. They had beaten the Harbour U16s team by 27 points at the Easter Weekend Champs. When they played them in their second encounter, Harbour came well-prepared and ended up winning. He said that a loss like this was a good wake-up call to his team that they needed to always be improving and be focused.

Mr Crummer is always eager to learn new aspects of the game and says that as a coach you can never think that you know it all. He is always researching about winning teams, coaches and their philosophies and strategies from basketball coaches in our school community to coaches in the NBA. He takes his job very seriously and isn’t afraid to talk the brutal truth as he said: …“if you’re a coach and you think you already know it all or you think you can’t learn much more, then it’s probably time for you to move on, find a new job.”

When asked about his coaching goals for the future, he said: “…for me, I’m targeting a coaching role with Basketball New Zealand. I’d like to try and get my foot in the door with the New Zealand U16s this year. It starts with getting maybe an invitation into one of their basketball camps. But it’s only my first year in reps so my expectations are quite low but I’d certainly like to be coaching one of the age grade basketball New Zealand teams and after that I mean who knows. Potentially New Zealand NBL, New Zealand Breakers (or) overseas, who knows…”

And if you’re an NBA fan you might like to know that Mr Crummer’s favourite player is Lebron James and his favourite player of all time is a tie between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. And yes, he was very surprised about Lebron signing with the Lakers this offseason but thinks it’s an awesome move. And despite his favourite player on the Lakers and his Cleveland Cavaliers basketball gear still locked away at home, the only team Mr Crummer will be supporting this year is the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Mr Crummer is the epitome of commitment, hard work and outstanding leadership. Basketball to him is more than just a sport and his players are like his family. I think that this is one of the many reasons why he is so good at what he does.

Some things in life are just not meant to be but we can be assured that this basketball thing is what Mr Crummer was meant to do. And there’s no doubt we’ll see him out there one day maybe even in a timeout, drawing plays, 15 seconds away from leading his team to an ANBL Championship.

Shontelle Matano