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Crynes coaching Southern Indiana Aces, who begin season SaturdayPosted Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 2:52 PM
It is officially spring, so it must mean that Rick Crynes will be coaching an AAU boys basketball team, again.
"I have been doing this for 18 years," said the 1974 Linton-Stockton High School graduate. "I came all the way from junior high school, to freshman, b-team to varsity assistant.
"It has been a long ride, but I really enjoy it. I started coaching AAU when I first started in junior high. It is a great opportunity to be around the kids and help."
This year's team will have the same name -- Southern Indiana Aces -- but will have a different look.
Team members include Matt Swartentruber, Johnny Gingerich and Jacob Bledsoe of Barr-Reeve; Dillon Reynolds, Jacob Ninesling and Ethan Whitson of Northview; Bryant Ackerman and Matt Mathies of Loogootee and the Shakamak duo of Brody Crowe and Brock Dowell.
Crowe is still recovering from an injury suffered during the high school season.
"These are great kids from great families," said Crynes. "Their parents raised them well. They show a lot of respect for each other.
"They are forming friendships, which is an important part of this."
Andy Cochrane, who led Bloomfield to the Class 2A sectional championship in 2009 and is currently playing at Franklin College, will again serve as assistant coach.
"I got to know Andy when he was on the freshman team at Bloomfield," said Crynes. "We formed a relationship when I was coaching there.
"He has been like a son to me. We have stayed in contact. He is a great kid. He is very knowledgeable about basketball. He is studying to be a chemist and that should say something about his intelligence. He has a great attitude and is willing to work with scheduling practices and fund raising."
Crynes said that a lot of the teams they play are more talented athletically, but he wants kids that will play the right way.
"I have had coaches come up to me and tell me your guys are unselfish, share the ball and play together," said Crynes. "I told him is there any other way to play.
"We do face a lot of teams that are more gifted. But we want to play together and compete on both ends of the floor."
Crynes said he loves coaching kids and hope this gives them an opportunity to be involved in something positive.
"It is good to have the kids involved in something good," said Crynes. "Peer pressure is a tremendous thing. It is easy to get wrapped up in the wrong things and get in trouble.
"We want the kids to improve their basketball skills, but we also want them to improve their life skills. We want them to have a good time and be involved in something positive in their lives."
Crynes said that local businesses and individuals have been tremendous as far as donations.
"It takes a lot of money to do this," said Crynes. "Fund raising is a part of this.
"The people have been great about donating anything they can. We will stay overnight at least once or twice. I am very thankful for the generosity of everyone who has helped."
The Aces will begin the season this weekend in a tournament at Bowling Green, Ky.
In April, there will be trips to Louisville, Evansville and Indianapolis.
In May, Evansville, Lafayette and Fort Wayne are the possible destinations for the Aces.
After a dead month in June, they will conclude with tournaments in July at Louisville and Evansville.
"We will end up playing between 25 and 30 games," said Crynes. "We play a pretty challenging schedule."
Crynes said he was overwhelmed at tryouts.
"We must have had at least 25 kids that showed up," he said. "I had to turn any kids away. It got me thinking about trying to put together a second team for now.
"Things have just spread by word of mouth over the years. We will see how things work out next spring."
In May, the Aces will again be involved in the Relay for Life fund-raiser. A date and location are being finalized to have a boys and girls basketball game on the same night with all the proceeds going to Relay for Life.
"This is the third year that we will be doing this," said Crynes. "The kids really enjoy it and it gives us a chance to give back to the community.
"My father suffered with cancer, so this hits home for me. We are still working on getting everything together. We are looking forward to getting another season started."
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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