John Crotty (1992-95, ’00-02)
In the summer of 1992, the Utah Jazz had one of their busiest summers in franchise history. The team signed Scott Layden to a long-term contract and changed his title to director of basketball operations, declined to exercise the option on Delaney Rudd’s contract and acquired Jay Humphries and Larry Krystkowiak in a draft-day trade.
The moves left the Jazz with one backup point guard and an opening for another. To fill that position Utah turned to an undrafted rookie – John Crotty. Following a productive career at the University of Virginia, where he averaged 12.8 points and 5.3 assists over 129 games, Crotty joined the Greenville Spinners of the Global Basketball Association after his name went uncalled on draft day.
But he wasn’t in the league long. Crotty impressed the Jazz enough with his 20.3 points per game and 6.1 assists that the team signed him to a one-year contract, completing Utah’s trio of point guards for the 1992-93 season.
Crotty saw action in 40 games, averaging 2.6 points per game and 1.4 assists. “It was my first experience ever in the NBA,” said Crotty. “I was a rookie with the team; it was an older team - a veteran team. It was a good experience to be around guys who were about showing you how to conduct yourself and you learn what kind of work it’s going to take to be successful and I think that helped me long term to stick around in the NBA.”
The guard not only stuck around in Utah, he did what few undrafted rookies are able to do in the league, he stayed on the same team for multiple seasons. Crotty played two more years in Utah, averaging 3.7 points and 2.6 assists in 1994-95.
After leaving the Beehive State, he would go on to play for Cleveland, Miami, Portland, Seattle and Detroit, touring the league as a backup point guard. Then in 2001, with the Jazz looking for a third guard, the team once again turned to Crotty.
The Virginia alum started off the 2001-02 season strong, moving ahead of John Stockton’s primary backup, Jacque Vaughn on the depth chart. Crotty led a talented second unit that made the Jazz a force in the Western Conference.
“Coming back the second time I felt more experienced and had more impact when I did play,” said Crotty. “I understood what my role was there and what they wanted me to do. It was a lot of the same principle characters with Coach Sloan and John and Karl being in the picture.’
But just as the team was starting to mesh, the guard went down with an injury in January.
“Before I got hurt we were on a real nice run,” said Crotty. “We were the second-highest scoring bench in the NBA with the group of Bryon Russell, myself and Andrei Kirilenko. We were providing a nice lift for the team. It was a lot fun to be around that group.”
Crotty tried to make it back to the team for the playoffs that season but never regained his pre-injury form. For the year Crotty would average 6.9 points and 3.4 assists. It was the last time he would wear a Jazz uniform.
Looking back, Crotty has fond memories of his time in Salt Lake and especially for head coach Jerry Sloan.
“He was my favorite coach, and I thought we had a lot in common in terms of work ethic,” said Crotty. “He gave you a chance – if you continued to work hard and perform, he’d give you an opportunity to play. I just felt like we were alike a lot in terms of our defensive mentality as well. I took a lot of pride in trying to stop people and just the team aspects in terms of unselfishness.”
And where is John Crotty now? Crotty has found a new career as an analyst on the Miami Heat’s radio broadcast. It’s a job that has allowed the former Jazzman to stay in basketball while continuing his “real job” in commercial real estate, working for Colliers International where he is a senior vice president and partner in investment sales.
“I didn’t go directly into [broadcasting]. [With Colliers] I work out of the Miami office and I sell office building and retail centers,” said Crotty. “I got the job with the Heat when Mike Fratello left the television analyst job and the radio analyst got bumped up.”
Crotty has now been behind the mic with the Heat for six seasons. Crotty continues to enjoy his time, working in two careers simultaneously.
“I like it a lot - it’s a nice balance for me,” said Crotty. “It gives me a great opportunity to make money selling real estate, looking to purchase deals for myself as well, while staying in touch with my former life as a player. I’m able to go to games and see former players and coaches that I played with and I get to stay around the game that I love that’s been a part of my life for so long.”
Crotty and his wife, Kara, are the parents to two daughters, Cassie and Connor. The family currently resides in Coral Gables, Florida. He continues to be involved in the community as a member of the Orange Bowl Committee and through his youth basketball camp in Coral Gables.