More on Crystal Langhorne
If you haven't already, check out the story in Tuesday's hard-copy edition about Crystal Langhorne's relationship with her family, particularly her parents, immigrants from Guyana, who she credits with helping establish her work ethic.
I had the opportunity to meet all of the Langhornes this past Saturday when they attended Washington's win over Chicago and there were plenty of extras that didn't find their way into the story. Prime among them is that Langhorne has yet to defeat either of her brothers, Cryhten Jr. (33) or Chris (26) on the court.
Both brothers played basketball in college and aren't much shorter than their 6 foot 2 sister despite being guards. Cryhten Jr. won their pick-up game last summer, but Chris hasn't faced off against Crystal since they were both in high school. "I beat her 11-0," Chris said, laughing. "That was the last time I tried, she might have been in ninth grade which would have put me in 11th, but still it was 11-0."
Like in any family, the youngest may often feel like they're ignored by the rest of the group. When I asked the Langhornes about Crystal's work ethic and determination, they traced it to her drive and maybe her desire to be taken seriously.
"She was awkward and didn't grow into her body for a while but in a way I think what helped her," said Camille, 35, the oldest of the Langhorne children. "She had to work to get here and she's very disciplined, she probably was the most focused, hard-working one out of all of us in terms of deciding what she wanted to do and working her way to that goal. But she was always a little tormented by the rest of us and complained that no one listened to her because she was the youngest, so if she worked hard maybe we would listen."
The reliable player Langhorne has developed into, one that both her college and professional coaches discuss as being the last person they worry about, exhibits some of the same traits that she possessed as a kid doing her homework.
"She took care of her schoolwork and that gave us an indication of how she'd be later in life," Langhorne's father, Cryhten said. "She always did her schoolwork and made sure she took care of whatever she needed to do first before she played, or as soon as she finished playing. She never needed to be reminded to take care of things and stayed on top of her grades."
Initially when AAU and high school coaches told the family that Crystal was a talented basketball player they were a little hesitant to put too much stock in the praise. "We always believed Crystal would go on to great things but with sports we had to take it with a grain of salt," her mom, Juel said during a phone interview.
Langhorne told me about how when she started playing basketball more seriously that a bad performance on the court would bring her to tears afterward, her mom remembered those times as well.
"She would come home sometimes after games and cry. You would think it was a death in the family," Juel said. "I'd tell her, 'You guys better save your tears' but every time there was a loss the tears would let loose. But it showed me how badly she wanted to win. Winning isn't everything but she just wanted to so badly and took it so seriously."
"I think in high school I started to notice that this is what Crystal really wants to do," Juel continued. "That this is what she's going to go on to do. I remember people would come up to her and tell her they hoped to see her in the WNBA. I think all along this was where she was supposed to be."
As close as the Langhornes are though -- combinations of her parents and siblings try to make it to Mystics' home games as much as possible, visit her when she's playing overseas during the WNBA off-season, etc. -- Crystal still likes her independence.
"I'm not one of those people who call my parents every day," Langhorne said. "We support each other and sometimes just knowing that is enough."
June 22, 2010; 1:34 PM ET
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