Thanks to our continued partnership with Univest Financial, SuburbanOneSports.com will once again recognize a male and female featured athlete each week. The recognition is given to seniors of high character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams or who have overcome adversity. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete (Week of March 15, 2023)
Sports or music? Music or sports? That was the question facing Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Azzareya ‘Azzy’ Crumpton when she reached high school. “My family is into both,” Crumpton said. “Those were definitely my main areas, and I was always around them.” There was no mistaking the PW senior had a promising future in musical theater. In sixth grade, she had the lead role of Gabriella Montez in High School Musical and regularly was chosen for solos. “Music was such a huge part of my life,” Crumpton said. “I started when I was three. I would have solos in plays, I sang in church, and I still sing in church. I was always singing, and I was definitely into instruments. I play viola, guitar and piano, and I taught myself the ukulele a little bit. I saw I had talent, and I could use it for something good.”
Crumpton had also been playing softball and basketball since she was a youngster, and she was drawn to the idea of playing high school basketball. Music may have seemed like the obvious choice for Crumpton since she appeared to be on the fast track to landing starring roles in the high school musicals, but in the end, it didn’t win out. “I chose sports because I love sports and I knew that my time to play sports in high school was limited,” Crumpton said. “Music is something that I knew I was never going to lose, at least at this moment in time, and I wanted to get the best of both worlds in my time of high school. Ultimately, in the end, I was able to do both which I loved.”
While few athletes would find a way to incorporate their love of music with their passion for basketball, Crumpton was able to do just that, performing the National Anthem before all the girls’ varsity basketball team’s home games. “She is just naturally blessed – she’s blessed with this amazing talent,” PW basketball coach Dan Dougherty said. “The director of our school musicals was a little sad she chose basketball, but he understood. He said, ‘Azzy is someone who could carry a show,’ she could carry an entire musical. She just has a natural gift. We certainly loved having her sing the anthem.”
Crumpton started every game except one (due to an injury) for the Colonials this winter, and although she wasn’t a headliner, she was an important player on PW’s SOL Colonial Division championship squad. “Any time you see a kid who – as a ninth grader – I don’t even know if this kid will stick with it,” Dougherty said. “Then as a senior captain and a starter – she had some big basketball moments this year. She’s one of those kids – sometimes good things happen to good people. We’ve loved having her as part of the program. We hold her up as an example.” Crumpton played for the freshman team in ninth grade, and after opting to not play sophomore year – the abbreviated COVID season, she returned to the court as a junior and was named captain of the JV and also dressed with the varsity for a squad that went 34-0 and won the PIAA 6A state title.
“What I love about Azzy’s story is she’s a program kid,” Dougherty said. “It’s tough sometimes to convince a junior to play on JV but not her. She was just grateful for the opportunity. As a junior, she played jayvee and was a member of the varsity and the state championship team. She was a kid you need in order to win. Last year she might have appeared in five varsity games, but she carried the jayvee team. The five starters on JV are typically our scout team at practice. You need good practice players to win championships.”
Crumpton, who is enrolled in honors classes, has not ruled out the possibility of playing basketball at the next level depending on her college choice. “I’m deciding between two top colleges - either Drexel or Gwynedd Mercy,” she said. “Gwynedd Mercy would like me to play basketball for them. If I got to Gwynedd Mercy, I could probably major in psychology and then go to law school. If I go to Drexel, I would major in legal studies which gives me credit for law school.” Becoming a lawyer is the end goal for Crumpton at either school.
Although Crumpton’s basketball story is vastly different than most high school players, it’s equally gratifying for both sides. “She’s not someone that works out with a personal trainer and plays basketball 12 months of the year,” Dougherty said. “But she got to be part of a state championship team, an SOL Tournament championship team. She’s refreshingly appreciative. She smiles, she says thank you, she was incredibly sad when the season ended, but she appreciated it. Her teachers love her. In this day and age, things like courtesy and manners go a long way. I’m very thankful for having her too.”
To read Crumpton’s story, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/azzy-crumpton-00105382
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of March 15, 2023)
As he puts his basketball career in the rearview mirror, there are no regrets for Neshaminy’s Sean Curley. He was on varsity since his freshman year, was a key reserve on a division-winning team as a sophomore and went on to lead his team in scoring – and charges – as a two-time captain in his junior and senior seasons. It was a career that ended with around 800 points netted, not bad considering his sophomore season was shortened due to COVID. It’s short of the 1,000-point plateau achieved by his older sister, Kristin, a few years ago. But the two-time all-leaguer got the last laugh there already. Ditto for when it comes to his dad, Terry, a standout at Archbishop Wood who went on play at Ursinus College. Why? By the time he was entering his early teens, neither could touch him on the court in terms of 1-on-1 games in the driveway. “It felt pretty good,” he said. “It felt like something you have waited your whole life for, at least up until that point. They had both beaten me for so long. It felt good to get one back.” In reality, it’s all just in good fun for the Thanksgiving table. “It runs in the family,” he said.
Curley achieved a goal that began as a kid attending Neshaminy basketball games. “Ever since playing in kindergarten, it was always a dream to play in high school,” he said. “It was just a great feeling to get to play and win. I have been enamored with the game ever since I was little.” Perhaps it was his last name that earned him an invite to offseason workouts with the big boys as an incoming freshman, but impressing the coaching staff was all on Curley. And even though he was a few inches shorter and more slightly built, coach Mark Tingle saw enough to have Curley initially cross-roster between JV and varsity. “You just kind of knew that he had a great head on his shoulders, a really good IQ on the floor and he could shoot the lights out,” said Tingle, a former Neshaminy player who is in his seventh season as head coach after 10 as an assistant. “We invited him to those offseason workouts as an eighth grader. By the time he got to his freshman year, you just knew he was ready.”
Curley was inserted into an early-season game that wasn’t going so well against Bensalem and turned enough heads that there was no more JV for him. “He had no fear,” said Tingle. “We thought he’d be on the varsity but play a ton of JV. He only played one JV game, and we were down in the game (against Bensalem) and we just threw him in there to see what he could do. He went off for 12 points, and he never looked back since then.”
While he could have easily gone the route of playing at the Division III level, Curley made the difficult-but-necessary decision to move on to his goal of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a doctor, something that crystallized in middle school. He has a 4.5 GPA, test scores off the charts and is leaning heavily toward Penn State or Villanova. Curley is also the treasurer of student council and a member of the National Honor Society. His studious approach in the classroom carries over to the hardwood. “I’m not the most athletic player on the court,” he said. “What I bring to the table is a high basketball IQ and my outside shooting. I try and get my teammates involved and make sure they are in the best spots they can be in at all times.”
That is an opinion shared by his coach, who has seen it emerge in leadership skills over the years. “By nature, he is a quiet kid,” said Tingle. “But, when he has to talk, he talks. He has a great IQ in the classroom, but also on the court. Sometimes, as a coach, I’ll say, ‘Hey, what do you think? What do you see out there?’ And he doesn’t have a problem telling me. So, yeah, he definitely leads the team. He’s a great teammate, and a great kid. It’s definitely going to be weird not seeing him on our teams. He’s just a special kid. He does everything the right way. He does everything you ask. He always gives his best effort. He never makes excuses. He is just a great example for the kids who are behind him. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
To read the remainder of Curley’s story, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/sean-curley-00105381
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