Besides Elijah Fisher and Romad Dean, Coach Ro Russell has built a talent-laden roster at Crestwood Prep with the addition of Zaiden Cross this past year. Coming from an athletic family with a father who played basketball and a mother who ran track, Cross stands at 6’7“ and 188 pounds. In the 2019-20 season with Royal Crown Academy, he was the youngest player in the National Preparatory Association (NPA) league to be named an all-star, registering averages of 21.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Cross is a scoring guard with elite off-the-dribble shooting prowess and self-creation ability.
Although basketball in Canada has been put on pause during the pandemic, Cross and his Grassroots Elite Canada squad have had the chance to continue to get national exposure at premier events in the U.S. In the current AAU season, Cross is grateful for the opportunity to be able to showcase his skills in front of coaches and talent evaluators despite the challenges of getting recruited during COVID-19.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Cross discusses how he landed at Crestwood Prep, his development as an on-court leader, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Zaiden Cross, from Toronto, Canada:
Pro Insight: Tell us a bit about your background.
Zaiden Cross: I'm Zaiden Cross. I’m from Toronto, Canada. I'm in the class of 2022. I'm a shooting guard and I go to Crestwood Prep and play for Grassroots Elite Canada.
PI: Prior to Crestwood Prep, where were you playing?
ZC: I was at a Royal Crown Academy last year. It was a school in Scarborough. It was a UPLAY school.
PI: What other sports did you play growing up?
ZC: I played a lot of sports actually. I ran track. I played volleyball, badminton, ultimate frisbee. Like any other sport, I played.
PI: Do you have any siblings?
ZC: I have two sisters - an older one and a younger one so I'm the middle child.
PI: Did sports run in your family?
ZC: Yeah, my dad was a pretty good basketball player back in the day. My mom ran track and that's how I got my, you know, athletic genetics, I guess.
PI: What’s the story behind how you ended up with Crestwood Prep?
ZC: Coach Ro has been trying to get me into Crestwood from grade nine. It’s just that I didn't apply for the school at that time. So me and Coach Ro spoke about it for me coming into Crestwood next year, with this past year at Royal Crown. And then next year will be, you know, taking me in for these next two years, that will be at Crestwood. Coach Ro did his thing. He spoke to the principal and the headmaster about me and they accepted me.
PI: You balled out at the Flyin’ To The Hoop Top Gun Showcase last month, how did you feel out there?
ZC: Um, it took me a while to get back because you know, the whole quarantine, no games being played in Canada. So I'm not gonna lie, at first it was kind of a struggle, but then I adapted to it and...in these games, I did my thing.
PI: So high school is done and you guys are officially in the AAU season?
ZC: Yeah. High school is done. Now we are in AAU. We just came back from Atlanta, like not so long ago. And we went to the Tip-Off Classic and we finished 2-2.
PI: What’s it like playing with Elijah Fisher?
ZC: It’s cool playing with Elijah. One thing I like about Elijah is that he is aggressive on the court and I feel like I can adapt to the aggressiveness and elevate my game.
PI: What are some of your biggest interests outside of basketball?
ZC: I play a lot of video games and I play a lot of board games with my family. So I think those are the two things that interest me outside of basketball.
PI: What video games are you currently playing?
ZC: My go-to is 2K.
PI: What apps are you on the most?