Few people get the opportunity to play college sports. Some of those lucky enough to play might not get the opportunity to play the entirety of their college experience because of injury or other reasons. University of Utah senior wing Paige Crozon is one of those elite few who have made the journey for all four years, and she certainly felt the added pressure being the lone senior on this year’s women’s basketball team.
“I had high expectations for myself and my team going into the season, maybe more so than any other year,” Crozon said. “As the season carried on, I knew I had to relax and enjoy the game, because that’s when I was my best and I was able to be the best teammate.”
Head coach Lynne Roberts spoke highly of the team’s only senior at a recent press conference.
“As I have said before, Paige is just a great human being,” Roberts said. “I can’t say enough about the person she is, especially when you have someone with the character and the coach-ability that Paige has. On top of that she is a pretty darn good basketball player, too.”
Roberts also added how much of a leader Crozon is on and off the court for her team.
Recently, the Utes had their last home game of the season as they hosted Oregon and Oregon State at the Huntsman Center. On Sunday, Utah hosted its senior day. Crozon was recognized by the team and the spectators before tip-off and it was even named “Paige Day.”
“It was kind of interesting because there was a lot of attention on me that day,” Crozon said with a laugh. “Being on the hot seat isn’t something that I particularly enjoy, but it was a great day, and I had so many kind messages. People went above and beyond and it was just better than anything I could have ever imagined.”
Crozon’s teammates also made a special video presentation that played before the starting lineup was announced, and wore shirts with Crozon’s face on them.
As with everything in life, basketball is a journey. There are ups and downs, and no one knows that better than Crozon.
“My career definitely hasn’t gone the way I imagined. I’ve had an unorthodox career here,” Crozon said. “It turned out better than I could have ever hoped. I think I had high expectations for myself coming into [the program], but I don’t think I expected to hit as many roadblocks as I have or have as [much] fun as I have had here.”
Among the roadblocks faced have been losing seasons and an injury that kept Crozon sidelined for the 2013-14 season. Through it all, Crozon is grateful for those roadblocks because she said they have helped make her a better person and a better basketball player.
Her value to the team cannot be understated. Roberts routinely refers to Crozon as the team’s best three-point shooter. She has been among the best free throw shooters in the Pac-12 her entire career, and she is closing in on the coveted 1,000 point mark for her career at the school. Crozon’s versatility will likely be missed next season.
“We are going to have to replace [Paige’s shooting], and I think we have some recruits coming in who can do that, but they won’t be fifth year seniors,” Roberts said. “Paige brings a consistency, and I always know what I am getting with her, whether it is a Tuesday morning practice or a Saturday night game. She is the same.”
While Crozon will miss her experience, she is keeping her focus on the future. After the season ends, Crozon will look to hire an agent and has plans to play professionally. As the old saying goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”