In Indiana, basketball is everything. Brandon Crone, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team, from Frankfurt, Ind., has been involved with basketball since he could walk.
Encouraged by his older brother who loved basketball, Crone picked up the sport and never let it go. Family has always been there for Crone in his development as a player and as a person.
“All of my grandparents were role models for me growing up —their strength and their work ethic, and they never took anything for granted. My mother worked two jobs and had her own business. And to see her fail but then come back and succeed — she is a role model,” said Crone.
Crone attended Frankfurt High School where the classic college basketball movie “Blue Chips” was filmed. He still holds school records in basketball including average points and rebounds per game. Crone was a two-time All-State player and was selected to the All-Indiana Team that plays the All-Kentucky Team every year.
He then attended Butler University in Indianapolis from 2003 to 2007, while it was still part of the Horizon Conference, before moving to the American Conference for the 2013/2014 season. He was captain of the Bulldogs during both his junior and senior seasons, and during his senior year, he averaged 11.4 points and five rebounds per game.
He had a wonderful career, playing at Butler in a major Division I program before playing professionally in Europe for three years, in countries like France, Turkey, Poland, Germany and Sweden. After his playing career was over, Crone began coaching at Indianapolis Park Tudor High School on the seventh and eighth grade level before moving to varsity as an assistant, where he helped lead the team to a state championship. He eventually came to NSU in 2011.
“I always remembered as a kid my goal was to play overseas because I knew I wasn’t athletic enough to be in the NBA, but once I got into college I knew when I was done playing I wanted to get into coaching. I like the interaction with players and to see the players get better,” said Crone.
Crone aspires to be a head coach of a major college program one day but knows it will be difficult. There are only a limited number of positions, but with continual hard work, the goal is obtainable.
“When you start out, your goal is to become a Division I head coach. You picture yourself at a school like Butler or Duke. I just enjoy being in it,” said Crone.
He tries to teach the players both on the court and off. Punctuality is a big part of what Crone preaches, but he also tries to build the players’ confidence and leadership skills. Fundamentals are a major part of what Crone tries to instill on the basketball court. Coaches need to have their own philosophies when they are coaching.
“As an assistant coach, it is important to follow your head coach’s philosophy and what he believes. A good assistant knows how to do that. Here, I follow Coach Gary Tuell’s beliefs and try to instill everything that he wants,” said Crone.
Coaches need to be teachers on and off the court. Teaching the players life lessons they can take with them for the rest of their lives is important.
“I like to say “improve daily.” I’d love to see us just keep improving. We have a lot of talented guys and I want to see them improving and playing hard,” said Crone.
On his down time, Crone likes to enjoy the simpler things in life.
“I am a PS3 guy. I don’t get a lot of time during the season but I do enjoy that. I ride [my bicycle] in the Everglades. I’m outdoorsy,” said Crone.
Crone’s job is never quite done even in the offseason. Although the season may only be five months long, the job goes on all year round.
“In the offseason, I do a lot of recruiting, especially for Division II. There have been a lot of transfers from Division I over the past three or four years, and we try to maximize on that — try to get a big name down to the
Division II level. There is a lot of traveling involved with it,” said Crone.
He wants to leave his mark on the sport and his players.
“I’d like to be remembered as a coach that did it the right way,” said Crone. “You hear a lot of stories about guys cheating the system. I want to be known as a good coach who did it right.”