Hawks’ Crafton relishes relationship with Lowry, family

Former 'Nova video coordinator forged strong bond with NBA star

SALISBURY, Md- Before he became head men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Jason Crafton was a video coordinator in the early 2000’s at basketball powerhouse Villanova University.

Among the players that Crafton developed relationships with was a freshman from Philadelphia named Kyle Lowry. 15 plus years after meeting Lowry and his mother Marie Hollaway, Crafton’s relationship with the family as just as strong as it was during those early years.

Hollaway details Crafton getting close to the family during her son’s freshman year, after he tore his ACL in a summer pickup game. She described Crafton amongst other coaches who never left her son’s side during that time, “They had someone with him 24/7.”

She also points out a later time that opened her eyes specifically to the young video coordinator. “My respect for him came after the North Carolina game,” said Hollaway. (Villanova lost to eventual NCAA champion UNC in the Sweet 16 in 2005) The moment he had with Kyle (after the game) made me say wow.”

Fast forward 15 years, Lowry is one of the NBA’s brightest stars. In 2019, he captured his first NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors, and in 2020 the 6’0 guard made his sixth consecutive All-Star team.

Sometime along the line, the roles reversed, and Crafton would seek support and advice from the family throughout his coaching career. “We were there to take care of Kyle in college, and they’ve been there to take care of me on the back end,” said Crafton. Hollaway says her support of Jason’s career is no different than the sacrifices he made in those times to see her son to success. “We’ve got to stick together, have to.” Hollaway explained.

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