Audi Crooks, a 6-foot-3 junior center from Algona (IA) Bishop Garrigan, is one of the top post players in the country. She is ranked as the #58 player in the country by ESPN in the Class of 2023. Crooks will make her college choice Thursday.
Crooks averaged 23.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game this season, while shooting 72.2% from the field. She scored a school-record 44 points in a win over North Union. Crooks earned first-team all-state honors for the third consecutive year after leading Bishop Garrigan to a 25–3 record and its first-ever class 1A state title. She had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the title game against MMCRU and became the state tournament’s all-time leading rebounder in only nine games.
Crooks averaged 20.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as a sophomore leading the Golden Bears to another 25–2 mark. She led the state in made field goals (224) while shooting 70.4 percent from the field, earning first-team all-state honors. Bishop Garrigan entered the state tournament as the top seed, but lost to Newell-Fonda again in the final, with Crooks adding 25 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game.
Crooks broke the Iowa state freshman records in points scored (626) and field goals made (270), while helping lead Bishop Garrigan to a 25–2 mark, losing the title game against two-time defending champions Newell-Fonda, despite having 34 points and 17 rebounds. Crooks broke her mother’s mark and set a new school record for single-season field goal percentage (70.7%).
Crooks scored a season-high 40 points in a 73–33 win over Humboldt, shooting 17-for-23 from the field. Crooks was named team captain of the Class 1A All-Tournament team after averaging 25.3 points and 15 rebounds per game. She was named Class 1A Player of the Year and first-team all-state. Crooks and teammate Molly Joyce were the first pair of freshman teammates in state history to make the all-state first-team.
Crooks won the Class 1A state title in shot put as a sophomore after her freshman season was canceled due to COVID. She also plays volleyball, earning first-team all-conference honors as a junior.
Crooks plays AAU for the CY Select Wolves.
Gopher recently caught up with Crooks at the Midwest Kickoff Classic in Bloomington Jefferson Saturday to learn the latest on her upcoming college choice and her Wikipedia page.
GopherHole: You were able to win the state title this year after losing a couple of heartbreakers in the championship game as a freshman and sophomore. What was that experience like, finally getting over that hump and winning that state title?
Audi Crooks: We definitely knew going into the season that we wanted to finish it off and those bittersweet losses. We wanted to win, but I think it helped to motivate us and get better every day in the gym. We worked a little harder. We were a little more hungrier. We wanted it more and I also think that is what gave us the edge this year.
GopherHole: Is that something that you had been talking about all year?
Audi Crooks: Absolutely. That’s everybody’s goal at the end of the season to finish it down at state and we knew that we had some unfinished business and I’m just happy that we could get it done this year.
GopherHole: Obviously, you are from a small town. What was the reaction of the whole community?
Audi Crooks: The whole community was really supportive and they’ve been really supportive since the very beginning. Since it is such a small school, everybody kind of bands together and rallies around our athletics and extracurriculars.
GopherHole: Does that even make it a little more special?
Audi Crooks: Absolutely. Knowing that the whole town is behind us and they are going to support us no matter what the outcome, is definitely a driving factor in what keeps us going every day.
GopherHole: What would it mean to get back there and win another title as a senior?
Audi Crooks: That would be great. I want to finish it off strong. We did it once. Let’s see if we can make it a two-peat.
GopherHole: You play with one of your good friends and high school teammates, Molly Joyce? How much does that help you in AAU, knowing that she knows where you are going to be and you know where she is going to be?
Audi Crooks: AAU is where her and I started before we even got to the high school floor, so AAU has helped us grow up together and that definitely translates out on the court and it is a big factor in our ability to do what we do.
GopherHole: I was googling you quick before this interview. Did you know that you have a Wikipedia page?
Audi Crooks: I did not know that.
GopherHole: I can’t imagine too many juniors have a Wikipedia page?
Audi Crooks: That’s weird. Oh wow.
GopherHole: You are getting closer to that time when you are going to decide on a school. Are you liking the recruiting process or is it kind of overwhelming at times?
Audi Crooks: I mean, it can be overwhelming if you let it, but I have taken it in stride and it’s just a great opportunity and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that not everybody gets, so I’ve just been really blessed and really grateful to have the offers and the opportunities that I have. I’m excited to pick a school.
GopherHole: I know it is pressure, but you also have to realize that wherever you go you’re hopefully going to get a great education and great basketball experience. Does that make it a little bit easier?
Audi Crooks: Absolutely. All the choices that I have are all great schools and it’s education-first. Student-athlete. I’m just excited to get a quality education and a quality athletic career in college.
GopherHole: You have a 3.9 GPA. Have you thought about what you might even try to major in at college?
Audi Crooks: I’m involved in a lot of different things. I like a lot of different areas. I thought about becoming an attorney. I thought about maybe being a psychologist. I’ve thought about being a coach after college, trying to find a team to coach or maybe even starting an AAU program, maybe coming back and coaching this team. I think that would be a really fun job.
GopherHole: What are going to be the main factors that make you pick School A over School B or School C?
Audi Crooks: Big thing for me has always been relationships, so just feeling out the staff and the players. Watching their practice. Are they having a good time? Do they have smiles on their faces, but also are they locked in? Are they focused? Just really evaluating the place, because you can be anybody over the phone. That’s what is going to persuade me to pick A over B.
GopherHole: I know that you were able to make a couple of unofficial visits in the late winter. How much do you think that helps you to get a little better feel for a school?
Audi Crooks: It definitely shows you that different schools operate in different ways, so that kind of exposes you to what you like, what you don’t like and it helps me to figure out what my fit is going to be.
GopherHole: I think you went on unofficial visits to Minnesota, Michigan State, Iowa State and Iowa. What are you hearing from the Gophers?
Audi Crooks: They are a really good program. They are kind of rebuilding, since Lindsey just kind of took over. They’ve got a good recruiting class coming in next year, I know that they are pretty excited about. They’ve been great in terms of building a relationship with me. They are really, really kind folks. Nice people and they want me to be a Gopher.
GopherHole: Do you have a preference of location. Would you like to stay in the Midwest or does that matter?
Audi Crooks: I feel like if I find my right fit and even if it halfway across the country, I’d be willing to go, if that’s where I feel like I belong.
GopherHole: Have you even thought about when you would even try to decide on a college?
Audi Crooks: I will be committing next week. Thursday.
GopherHole: What’s the significance of that date?
Audi Crooks: Just a special day that I picked.
GopherHole: You do other things besides basketball like throw the shot put. Do you think that doing other things and being well-rounded as a student helps you not get burned out on basketball?
Audi Crooks: Yes, for sure. Some people eat, sleep and breath basketball. I do, but also having those other group of friends, not just being friends with the basketball team, but the band and choir kids, the volleyball players, the track runners and throwers. It just kind of help you to branch out and be become more diverse as a person and as an athlete.
GopherHole: How many offers do you even have or do you even still keep track?
Audi Crooks: I don’t keep track.
GopherHole: What was the last number that you even remember?
Audi Crooks: I think it was around 16.
GopherHole: Do you even have a final five or have you even narrowed it down?
Audi Crooks: I have a final five. My final five is Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Minnesota.