HUMBOLDT — Paige Crozon is trying to earn an Olympic berth in an event that reminds her of her days developing her passion for basketball in Humboldt.
The daughter of Gary and Leanne Crozon is a member of Canada’s national women’s 3x3 basketball team. The squad, which recently won two straight FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series tournaments, is striving to qualify for the first ever women’s 3x3 Olympic basketball event in Tokyo in 2020. A former University of Utah NCAA Division I standout, Crozon is having fun competing in the game she loves with two fewer players on the court.
“I enjoy the pace and physicality of play in 3x3,” she said. “It is a fast-moving game and there is no time to worry about mistakes. Playing 3x3 reminds me of playing at the St. Dominic [School] court growing up and I love that.”
Crozon is pleased to be once again wearing a Team Canada jersey. Her past experience representing her country included the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2011 Pan-Am Games, the 2017 FISU Games, and the U19, U18 and U17 World Championships.
“There is so much pride that comes with the opportunity to have Canada across my jersey,” she said. “I’m always so grateful for the opportunity and do my best to represent Canada nobly.”
Crozon hopes to be wearing a Team Canada Jersey at the Tokyo Olympics next summer. Teams earn berths in the event through a somewhat complicated qualifying system that includes rankings based on points accumulated by the country’s best players. Twenty teams will compete at the Olympics.
In August, Team Canada earned many valuable points as it, with Crozon contributing, won Women’s Series events in Bucharest, Romania and Prague, Czech Republic. In addition, this summer Canada placed second in Poitiers, France; third in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy; and fourth in their first tournament in Turin, Italy. As of Aug. 23, the Canadian women trailed only France, 570-410, in the series point standings. What has allowed the Canadians to succeed?
“Two of my teammates, Michelle and Katherine Plouffe, are two of the best players in the world and we have great chemistry on the court,” Crozon said. “Our team genuinely likes and cares for one another and it shows on the court.”
She noted that the Plouffes have received all-star or MVP honours at every tournament. The Plouffes are twin sisters. Crozon and Michelle Plouffe were teammates and roommates at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Michelle Plouffe said she loves playing with Crozon and called her “one of the greatest teammates I've had.”
“She is passionate, committed, and an extremely hard worker,” Michelle Plouffe said. “Not only that, but she is humble and has a great heart. I have had the pleasure of playing with her in university and now that we are able to play together again in 3x3, it is awesome to experience it all with her.”
While Crozon humbly deflects credit to her teammates, the versatile 6-foot-1 guard/forward certainly is a strong player in her own right. She has played professionally in Germany. The University of Utah athletics website described Crozon in her last season, 2015-2016, as “one of Utah’s most complete players.” She had 32 career double-figure scoring games and recorded a dozen games with 10 or more rebounds. In addition, Crozon was second in her final season in the PAC-12 conference in free throw percentage (85.8) and ninth in three-point shooting (.366).
“She is an amazing shooter and a versatile guard, which is perfect for the 3x3 game,” Michelle Plouffe said. “Her basketball IQ is also high, so it comes easy to her to think and adapt during the game.”
The next event for Crozon and Team Canada will be a series stop in Montreal on Sept. 6 and 7. The team will cap the series in Edmonton on Sept. 21 and 22.
“I am looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd... Secondly, I am looking to continue to build on the momentum we generated the past two tournaments,” Crozon said. “Our team has gradually improved over the course of the series.”
She has heard that some family and friends plan to make the trek to Edmonton to cheer her on.
“I haven't had the chance to play in Canada while representing my country, so it is such an honour to have people that supported me my whole life come and watch me,” Crozon said.