Austin Cremins is a “big shot,” and it has nothing to do with family ties to one of the most famous names in Atlanta basketball history.
The Blessed Trinity point guard is the nephew of Bobby Cremins, the former Georgia Tech coach. The elder Cremins now guides the College of Charleston, which pulled off an upset over No. 9 North Carolina on Monday.
Meanwhile, the younger Cremins had 14 points, including four 3-pointers, in a 78-25 win over Cross Keys on Tuesday. The game was never close enough for the 5-foot-8, 140-pound senior to build on his legacy.
What is Cremins known for at the Roswell Catholic school? Making game-winning shots at the buzzer. Since cracking into the starting lineup last year, Cremins has had three dramatic buzzer beaters. He did it against Etowah and Buford last year, along with Pace Academy this season.
“I’m not sure really how to explain it,” Blessed Trinity coach Brian Marks said. “Some players go their entire careers without a game-winning shot at the buzzer, and Austin has already done it three times. It’s really amazing.”
Cremins’ last-minute heroics have become the source of humor among the Titans (8-3), which are ranked No. 5 in Class AA.
“After the first time, Coach told me to ‘enjoy the moment because it may never happen again in your lifetime.’ After the second time, he said just about the same thing. The third time? Well, he didn’t say anything after that game. Maybe they are hoping I will do it again or something.”
Cremins reminds old-timers of the way his uncle played the game on the New York playgrounds and later at the University of South Carolina. He is never the most athletic player on the court, but compensates with his fearless play and basketball smarts.
“We weren’t good shooters, but Austin is a decent shooter and my daughter Kimmy (junior at Blessed Trinity) is a very good shooter,” said his father, John Cremins, who is a dead-ringer for his brother with the gray hair and well-defined cheek bones. “Austin plays hard like my brother did. He’s real scrappy and knows the game of basketball very well.”
The Cremins brothers remain close, and “Uncle Bobby” tries to attend at least one Blessed Trinity game each year. He watched the team’s loss to No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian last month. GAC’s top player, 6-7 swingman Trent Wiedman, has signed with the College of Charleston.
Ausitn said many of his teammates and peers aren’t that familiar with his celebrity relative, who last coached at Georgia Tech for the 2000 season. “Unless it’s a Georgia Tech fan. When they make the connection, they usually get pretty excited.”
Cremins averages 10 points and 8 assists for Blessed Trinity, which has four new starters after last year’s team reached the state championship, losing to Dublin. His coach has known about him since the fourth grade.
“He came to our camp and was eating up all the kids, dribbling around them,” Marks recalled with a laugh. “His team won a game 34-4, with ‘Little Cremins’ scoring 32 of the 34 points. We thought about moving him up with the seventh-graders, but we didn’t.”
Cremins is being recruited by several small schools, and is also considering walking on at the College of Charleston.