BY PERRY HUNTER
Last season when I decided I was finished coaching basketball for the next season, I approached Myra Powell about doing some play-by-play or color commentary for her games.
She and her husband were recording and placing games online for another way to get business for Wright Brothers Implement Sales. They had covered games with no one working them and doing a great job with the technical stuff. I know many coaches who use them for scouting purposes.
I knew that I would need something to do this winter, so I volunteered to help. If you want to check out the games and what Southern Indiana basketball is all about you can go to the Wright Brothers’ website at http://www.wrightbrosimpl.com and see how good, or bad, of a job we are doing.
I have been able to cover some games and have had a great time. It has allowed me to attend some practices, it has allowed me to use my relationships, and it has allowed me to stay involved with high school basketball.
I don’t know if anyone is listening or even caring about what is being said. But I guess I enjoy listening to myself talk.
A couple of things have happened through this opportunity. I have gotten to spend more time with my good friend Nick Ray and a former Henryville High School player in Cody Munk. Also, I got to interview a legend the other night at Orleans in Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member and former Orleans boys’ basketball coach Charlie Denbo as well as the Henryville principal, Troy Albert, at the Austin vs. Henryville game.
Coach Denbo was a head basketball coach for 35 years, the last 27 at Orleans High School with a total of 402 wins. He began coaching at Vallonia from 1960-62 (28-15 record), followed by Brownstown Central from 1962-66 (53-37) and Crothersville from 1966-68 (29-15). He won three sectional championships and nine conference titles in his career with an Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and a Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award in 2003.
To sit down with him and hear him speak about his experiences, even if for a short time, was quite an experience. The reverence I have for him and for Indiana high school basketball is at a high level. He spoke fondly of his four-year run in the early 1970’s at Orleans with Curt Gilstrap and a guard named Johnny Bradley (former Silver Creek and Henryville boys’ basketball coach). He briefly covered their rivalry with another big man in the area during that time from Springs Valley. You may have heard of him — Larry Bird.
What Myra and Greg Powell have done is allow for the conversations that I might have with a Nick Ray or a Cody Munk be televised.
I think that there are many good conversations going on around any gym on any given game night. Towns and schools have alumni and intelligent people talking about the game or the history of that particular school. In Indiana, that is usually at a higher level than you might find in another state (I am biased). Not everyone is complaining about the coach or the players at the local high school game. (Of course, that doesn’t happen, does it?)
I look forward to calling more games and getting the opportunity to listen to people like Coach Denbo and Troy Albert as they share their stories.
I will call a few more games this season doing my best for Myra Powell and her husband Greg because of the time and effort they are putting into this thing. They deserve my best effort and Indiana high school basketball does, too. Despite some people’s dismay with class basketball at the high school level, Indiana is still THE basketball state.
Perry Hunter is a Henryville High School teacher and a former coach of the school’s boys’ basketball team. You can visit his blog at coachperryhunter.blogspot.com.