Basketball: Allen Crabbe waits his turn, fights frustration, has no regrets about NBA decision

Former Cal star Allen has gotten on the floor just once in the past 12 games as a rookie for the Portland Trail Blazers, and the immediate horizon doesn’t offer much promise of more.

“It can be a humbling experience sometimes for you,” Crabbe said Friday after practice. “It definitely is frustrating as a competitor, I’m not going to lie. It’s a new adjustment for me, a process I have to go through and something I have to stay positive about.”

The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year, who left Cal after his junior season and slipped into the second round of the NBA draft, is sitting on the bench for the first time since . . . well, the first time.

He’s been a starter for every team he’s played on since his freshman year in high school on the varsity squad. “But I got to play a lot,” he said.

Not the case so far with the Blazers. His three most recent appearances came in games after Portland had built leads of at least 30 points.

It’s a hard swallow, but Crabbe said he’s getting plenty of support from family and friends, encouraging him to be patient.

“There are thousands of basketball players who want to be here,” he said. “If I have an attitude because I’m not playing, I could be gone.”

Blazers coach Terry Stotts understands Crabbe’s frustration and appreciates that the 6-foot-6 shooting guard has not given to it.

“I do know that he continues to impress,” Stotts said. “He improved from summer league to training camp. He had a very good training camp.”

And then, just as he had a chance to compete for playing time, Crabbe got sick and missed a week. He slipped out of the rotation and hasn’t found a place in a deep backcourt.

“I think he’s handling it well,” Stotts said. “He stays engaged, he’s working hard.”

Stotts tells the story of one-time Ohio State star Michael Redd, who played a total of 35 minutes in six games as an NBA rookie. Three years later he was an all-star for the Milwaukee Bucks and in 2008 played for the U.S. Olympic team.

“I think he’s a very good player,” Stotts said of Crabbe, who is averaging 2.8 points in the eight games he’s played. “I’m very confident he’s going to have a good career.”

Crabbe said he has no regrets about his decision to leave college early and stressed it had nothing to do with the much-publicized sideline shove he got from coach Mike Montgomery on Feb. 17 during a game against USC.

“Everybody tries to act like our relationship wasn’t good, just because of that one incident we had,” said Crabbe, who remains satisfied with his decision to attend Cal. “I feel like me and coach had a solid relationship.”

He noted that he improved each year at Cal under Montgomery, and expects that to continue.

“I just feel like my path is never going to change — I’m going to keep getting better,” he said. “That’s my job now, to get better and work on my craft. I have a lot more time to just eat, sleep basketball now.”

Jeff Faraudo