Getting to know Javaris Crittenton

There has been a ton of talk about what kind of guy Gilbert Arenas is. Many have assumed he's a thug, while those who know him laugh at that idea.

Javaris Crittenton, though, "the other Wizard" involved -- people either don't know who he is or assume he's so crazy it's not even worth debating.

Hats off to Howard Beck of The New York Times, though, for going to the trouble of finding out what Crittenton is really like. Of course, the picture is far more complicated.

For instance:

In news reports of the incident, the 22-year-old Crittenton sounds hotheaded and dangerous, even thuggish. Those who have known Crittenton the longest, however, cannot reconcile the image with the person.

Friends, educators, former coaches and teammates almost uniformly describe Crittenton as intelligent, thoughtful, generous and well mannered. His college coach recalls him as a neat freak. His high school principal remembers him as a bright student with a 3.5 grade point average and a passion for science projects.

During his brief time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Crittenton was known for dressing smartly and answering questions with a simple “yes sir” or “no sir.”

The picture Beck paints feels real. Two people who know him have read that article and tell me it sounds right.

Crittenton is not being portrayed as absolutely perfect -- such portraits are almost always missing something, right? -- but as someone who's bright, hard-working and generally the kind of guy you'd never expect to find in this situation.

The article does contain a little hint of recent stress in his life however -- he recently parted ways with his agent, for reasons that are unclear.