Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Every era of Wisconsin high school basketball has its share of high scorers. Back in the mid-1970's, Mickey Crowe was putting up some incredible numbers. He led the state, and the nation with an average of 41 points per game...but his basketball dreams got derailed along the way.
Crowe finished his high school career with 2,724 points, playing for his father, Marty, the head coach at JFK Prep in St. Nazianz. In his final high school game, Mickey scored 45 out of his team's total of 58, but JFK Prep lost in the WISAA Class B championship game.
"I'm just sorry we lost the game," says Mickey Crowe, but I am thankful that in that game, I showed what I could do, I didn't have the full game that I showed what I wanted to do, but I had spurts where I showed what I could do, and that was important. We didn't win that game, so that was disappointing, but other than that, it was one of the most euphoric times of my life, it really was, it was really a lot of fun."
Crowe was Wisconsin's career high school scoring leader from 1975 through 1993, when his record was broken by Wausaukee's Anthony Pieper, but Crowe is still second on the all-time list. In 2009, Crowe was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Crowe says, "I figured that if it was just based on my playing, that I'd make it, you know, but all the partying that I did afterward, sometimes that can cause people to take pause and say, well, because he blew it afterwards, you know, after he did really well in high school, with all the drinking and drug use, and stuff, that they might have figured that we better not consider him because of that, but they were open-minded enough to induct me in the Hall of Fame anyway, and I'm really thankful about it, it's a great honor, and it's one of the great honors of my life."
These days, Mickey Crowe is very open about why his dreams of playing in the NBA were never realized....and it's a story he now wants to share with others.
"As it turned out, I was quite heavily recruited by Iowa State, and Duke, and Minnesota, but by the time I was nearing the end of my high school playing days, I had partying on my mind more than basketball, that's what really disrupted my planned direction on what I wanted to do."
Mickey Crowe did go on to play college basketball, at Silver Lake, UW-Fond du Lac, St. Norbert...there was a brief walk-on stint at Minnesota, before he wound up at UW-Superior....but basketball and books were never a priority.
"My first question when I went to a new college wasn't where's the gym, or where's the library, to study, but where's the party," says Crowe. "I urge kids, and adults, for that matter, to realize that you can learn from my life instead of learning from your own life mistakes, learn from my mistakes so that you don't make those mistakes, you know...my high school career was my NBA career, and I really feel that way today, so I don't feel in any way like I failed, it's just that I didn't succeed as much as I wanted to, that's the best way I can put it."
Mickey Crowe says he's been sober for many years. A book about the life of Mickey Crowe is in the works....Appleton Post-Crescent sports writer Brett Christopherson is the author.
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