Today, we continue the look at the Celtics assistant coaches with Mike Crotty. You won't see him on the sidelines but he is perhaps one of the most important assistants on the team as he works directly with the players to be sure that their lives are in order so that they can concentrate on the basketball end of things. Of course, he also works with the players in practice and when the injuries hit last season, he was even pressed into service in practices so that they had enough players to run 4 on 4 or 5 on 5 drills.
Mike Crotty's title is Director of Player Development. He is responsible for working with Celtics players on personal and professional development, community service projects, helping the players adjust to living in the Boston area, scouting, video breakdowns, orchestrating individual workouts and when needed scrimmaging with the players.
Crotty's love of basketball goes way back to his youth. He joined leagues, whatever ones he could get in, at 7 years old, 8, 10, 12. Two, three games in a day. He graduated from Belmont High and then attended Williams College. He made a mark at Williams starting every single game in his career. He accumulated 752 assists (only the 5th player in Division III history to reach 750) and scored 1,287 points. He has set the Williams single-season assist record each of his first three seasons. He went to the Division 3 national championship game consecutive years, earning All-America honors twice.
One night, while he was at Willams, the Harlem Globetrotters came to the college. Crotty scored 20 points on them. Afterwards, they called him and asked if he'd like to play for a team that would play against the Globetrotters. Crotty accepted the offer. They played in 10 countries in Europe. Along the way, he joined EBC Muenster for some serious basketball in Germany. He stayed three months and was the only American on the team.
Back home in the US, Crotty continued to play in any leagues and pick up games he could find. Mike's dad had coached the son of Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca. One day, Mike approached Pagliuca and asked if there was anything at all he could do to help the team. Steve sent him to see Danny Ainge. Crotty was offered an internship with the team and for a kid who grew up a Celtics fan and who loved basketball, this was a dream come true.
Crotty served for four months as an intern under Ainge. He scouted college players for the 2005 draft, hosted college players visiting the Celtics for workouts and performed other administrative duties. Ainge liked what he saw and offered Crotty the position of Director of Player Development. His number one project in his first year on the job was Gerald Green. With Green fresh out of high school, Crotty had his work cut out for him. It was his job to stay with Green when he went down to the D-League in his rookie year.
Crotty has been a constant with the team, making himself available for just about anything that is needed. He is at all the practices and works with players to help them adjust to life on their own, helps them learn to make the right choices, helps them to work in the community, and also help them with their development on the court.
This past week, Crotty has been doing informal drills with Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and several other members of the Celtics who are back in Boston working on their games. He also worked with his dad putting on a camp for area kids at which Rondo and Pierce appeared. Although you won't see him on the bench during games, Mike Crotty is an important assistant nonetheless. He works out with the players on the court and helps to keep the young players in line off the court. He also helps the older players like KG and Ray Allen who are coming in find their way around Boston and get settled. While he won't have as many young players to work with this season, I have a feeling he will still have plenty to do.