Editor's note: Scott Kreiger provided a daily blog on his experiences as the Indiana Girls All-Star coach. Here is his final entry:
Typing bleary-eyed this morning after a very late night return to Fort Wayne, it’s time to reflect on the week that was.
Since we were not able to accomplish our ultimate goal of winning either or both of the All-Star games against Kentucky, by most measures, that would qualify as failure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was blessed with one of the nicest, respectful, hard-working groups of basketball players as I could have imagined. Every one of them played hard and tried to do the things we asked them to do. Several of them fought through injuries and illness to remain a part of the team and find a way to make a contribution.
Finally, they played as a team. In the standard All-Star setting, it’s often the case that the players all want to make their mark and never seem to mesh into a unit where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That was not the case this week. That’s not to say we didn’t have our frustrations.
In addition to being great kids, they are also great competitors and great competitors hate to lose.
We knew that we would be graded by the outcomes of the games, and it’s tough sometimes to keep your perspective when the sense of urgency seems so high. Coming out on the short end of the stick both nights against Kentucky left a sour taste, make no mistake about that.
But as we talked after the game last night, the week is so much more than just the ballgames. It’s about the experiences, the new friends, and the camaraderie that materializes when many are thrown together and asked to be one.
Over the course of my career, there have been lots of wins and losses. But nothing is more satisfying as a coach than to see a group of players come together and find ways to build memories and value the opportunities they have together.
There are so many things I will remember about the week, but probably just as many that I will sadly forget. The team meals, bus rides, photographs, birthday celebrations, nights in the team room playing games and watching the NBA, interacting as friends and fellow competitors with the boys’ team, sharing life experiences with the staff and each other, movie references, the list goes on and on.
Walking as a team into the historic old Freedom Hall in Louisville or the gleaming Banker’s Life Fieldhouse last night in Indy were experiences very few ever get to enjoy and we tried to soak up the moment as well as we could. So much to appreciate and, upon reflection, the sting of the games will pass over time, but the memories will be long-lived.
For anyone still reading this, I would personally like to thank Charlie Hall, the All-Star Games director for giving me an opportunity to play the role that I did. It was an honor and a privilege, and I will count it as one of the great experiences of my coaching career. His responsibilites are too numerous to list, but his number one priority was to make sure that the players and coaches had a memorable week, and we did!
Our team managers, Lisa Thompson and Liz Honegger were simply the best. So much work goes on behind the scenes and those two former All-Stars, now assistants to Charlie, made sure the week ran smoothly and were also great counselors to the players and coaches about what to expect through this entire eventful week.
Marian University was a gracious host and even though it’s been a long time since I hung out in a dorm room, it was home for the week.
The assistant coaches Karla Rieckers from Brownstown Central and Alana Harrington from Bloomington North were outstanding and certainly capable of being the head coach just as much as I was.
I enjoyed spending time and talking basketball with the boys’ coaches, Craig Teagle, Chris Johnson, and Tom Bradley. They are all great coaches and teachers of the game – handling the expectations of such a high-powered team was not easy, but they got the job done and still had time to support the girls’ team and coaches.
It would take me several more paragraphs to thank everyone who had a hand in making this week-long event a memorable success. I hope I was able to personally get around to most of them through the week or in the aftermath of the games last night to let them know how much I appreciated their efforts.
Regardless, the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Series is alive and well with new leadership from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association and a new corporate sponsor in Rob New and Best Choice Home Health.
The crowds both nights were outstanding and the addition of the Indiana-Kentucky Junior All-Star games will only add to the allure of the rivalry.
Thanks to Greg Jones for allowing me to post my thoughts and provide some updates and behind-the-scenes perspectives into the week’s events.
I’m excited for the players and coaches who will get this opportunity next year and in future years because it really is once in a lifetime!