Hoos in Charlottesville — John Crotty

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series about University of Virginia legendary athletes and what they do, where they go, who do they see, when they return to their old college town. This month: former Cavalier basketball star John Crotty).

Nearly three decades have passed since John Crotty last laced up his shoes for Virginia basketball, but he still owns the Cavaliers’ records for career assists (683), single-season assists (214), 10-assist games (13), and tied for single-game assists (14, twice).

He was a gritty point guard for Terry Holland and Jeff Jones, earning honorable mention All-America honors from The Associated Press and The Sporting News. Wahoo fans delighted in Crotty’s tough defense and aggressive offensive play. He posted 1,646 points and recorded 12 double-doubles in points and assists as a Cavalier.

A product of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, N.J., Crotty was a McDonald’s All-American in 1987, and also a second-team Parade All-American. Crotty was one of those guards capable of creating his own shots, driving the basketball or shooting the 3-pointer. In fact, when Crotty fired away from beyond the arc, fans playfully called his shot a “Crotty Chop.”

He’s still very much a fan favorite, one of the most popular Wahoos throughout the years, and visits Charlottesville quite often after sending his daughters to school at UVA, and as a member of the Orange Bowl committee, scouting out the Wahoos football team.

While he was undrafted out of college, Crotty was determined to make his way to the NBA and did just that. He enjoyed a 12-year career in the league from 1992 to 2003, amassing 1,903 points. Crotty played for the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Supersonics, Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets, playing in 477 games.

After retiring as a player, Crotty became a game analyst for Miami Heat televised games, which he continues to this day. He also is a principal in the Miami office of Avison Young real estate and loves living in Miami, where he still enjoys surfing.

WHAT JOHN CROTTY LOVES ABOUT CHARLOTTESVILLE

When did you last visit?“My last visit to Charlottesville was in December to promote the Orange Bowl game with UVA playing the University of Florida. I come up four to five times a year mostly in the fall to see my daughters, who have gone and are going to UVA, watch football games, basketball practices, and visit friends.”

What did you do while you were here?
“My typical day revolves around getting up early, having a quick breakfast at the hotel and going for a long walk with my wife through the Grounds, seeing the Rotunda, Lawn and amphitheater and walking down Alderman Road. From there, it is off to meet up with my daughters for lunch at Bodos Bagels or their favorite Mexican place, El Jaripo. We may walk downtown on the mall area and go to the Whiskey Jar for some solid Southern fare.

On the Friday of a football game weekend, I really enjoy visiting with Tony Bennett and watching the basketball team practice. He and assistant coach Ron Wideman are always gracious and make me feel like I am still part of the program. It is great seeing my former roommate and teammate’s son, Austin Katstra, out there competing, too.

I always am sure to say hello to my old trainer, Ethan Saliba, who always patched me together and is still keeping the young ones healthy. Sometimes I see Coach Bronco Mendenhall, when possible, and of course visit the great living legend Gerry Capone, and Dot Kirby, who keep everything organized (in the football offices).

I spend time with AD Carla Williams and enjoy catching up with her on the latest plans at the University. I have recently visited my former basketball coaches like Terry Holland and Tom Perrin, who still reside in Charlottesville, and it usually revolves around grabbing breakfast or lunch.

I try to rally my guys like VAF director Dirk Katstra and his wife, Michelle, to get them out to dinner. We love to eat at the Aberdeen Barn as I have great memories of having all my pre-game basketball meals there, as it was our official training table for home games. Ownership and staff treat our family like their own. I typically get the filet and the wife will get after the Princess cut prime rib.

In the last few years, my family has taken to visiting a few of the vineyards, breweries and cider houses when the weather is nice. Places like Blue Mountain Brewery, Dave Matthew’s Blenheim Vineyards and Trump Vineyards to name a few. The goal is always the same, enjoy each other’s company with excellent food and drink and amazing views.

Some of the other spots we enjoy when in town: Oyster Public House, Boylan Heights (where my daughter works as a waitress, is the best sports bar on the Corner), Mellow Mushroom for pizza, the Virginian, the Biltmore, and always a late-night Gus Burger.”

What do you think of your old college town?
“I can’t believe how much Charlottesville has grown and become an even more appealing place to live. I still remember when you landed at the tiny airport and the baggage guy would hand you your bag through the baggage carousel to having now evolved into an airport with legitimate multi-level concourse gates!”

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