Editor's note: Indiana All-Star coach Scott Kreiger is writing a periodical blog about his experiences leading up to the games against Kentucky in June.
All-Stars in action
As much as I have enjoyed the texts, emails, and phone conversations with the 13 All-Stars, it's still much better to actually have these interactions in person. The first opportunity since the team was named came at the North-South All-Star game in Muncie on April 15.
It was a great chance to see some of the state's best in action, invited to the affair by Garry Donna of Hoosier Basketball Magazine. Along with a dozen or so other outstanding senior players, 10 of the 13 All-Stars played. Akilah Sims from Snider was on the bench but still nursing a foot injury that kept her from seeing any action.
Beth DeVinney and Curt Benge did a nice job coaching the girls, who were split up geographically (although it was a little unusual that Rachael Gregory and Nariah Taylor were on different teams despite the fact they both played for the 4A State Champions from Indianapolis North Central).
Regardless, it was a neat chance for some additional observation, especially in head-to-head situations. The quality of play was pretty rough, but that's to be expected. It had been over a month since the state finals, several of the girls were out of shape, and all-star games in general tend to lack much organization. There were a few bright spots and everyone played hard, but those inherent problems with all-star games tended to trump everything else.
I sat with Charlie Hall and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Director Chris May, and the wealth of basketball knowledge they possess made for an interesting afternoon of observation and conversation that day in the Muncie Fieldhouse. I touched base with a few of the girls after the game, but they were busy signing autographs and visiting with family and friends, so I didn't want to impose too much on their time.
This past weekend was the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Spring Clinic at Lawrence North High School. It's a great collection of coaches from around the state. Some of the outstanding guest speakers included Butler's Beth Couture, Bryce Drew from Valparaiso, and the headliner, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
On a side note: the writer of this blog, Greg Jones from The Journal-Gazette, received the prestigious Virgil Sweet award for Distinguished Service to high school basketball. Congratulations, Greg.
On Saturday morning, I invited (begged?) some of the local players from the All-Star team to come in at 8:30 a.m. and run through some drills. It didn't make sense for the girls who live hours away from Indianapolis to make the long drive, although I know they would have done it if I had asked.
I appreciated the girls who came in to help, and we sat for awhile after the presentation, talking about the experience they were going to share and trying to sort out the myriad questions which emerged as we ruminated about the All-Star week.
In fact, we probably left with more questions than answers, so the All-Star assistant coaches Alana Harrington and Karla Rieckers jotted down several things that we wanted to learn before everyone showed up June 2 for the initial check-in.
The common thread though was how much fun we were going to have. The next time we will all be together will be May 27 at Mount Vernon High School for our All-Star minicamp. Between now and then, there is a lot of work to be done. I'll share some of the things on that list in my next entry later this week.