David Cross knows what it’s like to be a part of a winning basketball program. He had a little taste as a freshman.
Cross came off the bench for Bishop Eustace, which finished 22-7 before falling to St. Augustine Prep in the South Jersey Non-Public Group A final in 2017.
Although Cross has started every game since, the Crusaders have been knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals in each of the last two years.
With Bishop Eustace off to a 6-2 start, the senior point guard has been tasked with leading this group of Crusaders.
“Freshman and sophomore year, I was never ‘the guy,’” Cross said. “I was the point guard, but I was more considered a facilitator. I’m still in the role I’ve always had, but I’m also taking over on offense and being more aggressive with scoring.”
Cross, a 5-foot-11 lefty, was named the most valuable player as the Crusaders captured the KSA Holiday Tournament in Orlando with a 48-38 victory over Germantown Friends. Bishop Eustace defeated Hilliard High (Fla.) and Fordham Prep (N.Y.) to make the final at the end of December.
Cross averaged 15.6 points per game in the tournament, which is right around his season average of 15.0. Not only has Cross put more of an emphasis on scoring this season, he’s still getting others involved by averaging seven assists per game and being a pest on defense by averaging two steals per game.
“This kid plays really hard. He’s got a great motor,” coach Robert Falconiero said. “He’s a 32-minute-a-game kid.”
The senior can get to the rim at will, but he knew he needed to work on his three-point shot in the offseason to maximize his value to the team. Cross said he spent the summer and fall aiming to take 3,500 threes a week.
It appears that teams are taking notice of Cross’ progression. Bishop Eustace recently suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Timber Creek, 72-65, which went into the game at 9-0.
The Chargers implemented a full-court double team on Cross for the entire game. Cross said he’s used to teams applying pressure but said that was the most he’s ever seen.
He’s not the least bit worried.
“If other teams watch it or if they go back to it, other guys are going to step up,” he said. “If they’ve got two guys on me, that means it’s four-on-three. We’ll definitely learn from it.”
Cross said he has a number of options to play Division III ball. He also has been in talks with St. Joseph’s and Richmond about a preferred walk-on offer.
With his Crusaders off to a good start, the focus is putting Bishop Eustace back on the map, and Cross said it starts with him.
“Everything goes back on me,” he said. “I’m kind of running the show right now, so I have to perform and take that role.