Buzz Williams spent the early part of his career writing letters on a weekly basis to coaches in an attempt to develop relationships with people he respected. One of the coaches he wrote, over and over again, was Mark Adams, who is now on Chris Beard’s staff at Texas Tech. But in the 2009-2010 season, he was the head coach at Howard College. And one day, back then, he phoned Williams to tell him about Crowder.
“Coach Adams called and said, ‘Buzz, I’m coaching the best player I’ve ever coached,'” Williams recalled. “And I go, ‘Coach, thanks for calling me. But that statement can’t be true because when I was writing you letters, I used to look at the Dallas Morning News, and you were coaching the leading scorer in Division 1.’ … And he said, ‘No, I have a kid who’s better. I’d like for you to come watch him.’
So Williams went to watch him.
“And Jae had five points, five rebounds and five fouls,” Williams said. “So the game’s over, they’re playing at South Plains [College], and I went over to talk to Coach Adams before they went into the locker room. … And he goes, ‘Buzz, man, I’m really sorry. This is the worst he’s played.’ And I go, ‘Coach, I didn’t come to see him play. I came because you asked me to come. That’s how much I respect you.’ And I said, ‘If you’re telling me he’s the best player you’ve ever coached, I wanna sign him.’ And he goes, ‘After what you just saw?’ And I go, ‘Coach, he spent more time next to you than he did in the game. And the entire time he’s on the bench, he’s the most vocal coach on the staff. I mean, he’s waving a towel. He’s cheering. … He’s running out, giving guys dap, giving them high-fives.’ I’m like, ‘We need that. That’s who we are. And you know a player better than I do.’ I guess, at that time, I was 37. So I said, ‘I trust you.'”