The Washington Times-Herald

April 3, 2013

Crays at a crossroads

Sims on Sports

By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald

ELNORA — Nick Crays finds himself at a crossroad these days.

The North Daviess senior was beginning to get looks from interested colleges following a sophomore season that included a trip to the Class A basketball semistate. A starter, Crays grabbed the sectional-winning rebound against Loogootee as time expired.

Those contacts from two-years ago have slowed since Crays missed the last half of his junior season following knee surgery to both sides. The problem is often called, "jumper's disease". An apt name for the player who admits jumping has always been an important part of his game.

Crays had been playing for several years with knee pain. It really didn't affect his play until all of that changed in an early January home game against Shakamak in teh 2012 season.

The North Daviess senior rehabbed, did the work he could, and played through a difficult senior campaign He was often forced to ice the knee several times a day. Some days were good.

Others were not.

He never knew how the knees would feel until game day came.

"I would like to play in college," Crays said. "The doctors have told me that they were getting me through the season, and I should return back to where I was after I get some more time to rest. I certainly want to play." Hopes for a second sectional championship disappeared for Crays. Winning one was nice. Winning another would have been better. Still, Crays found a bit of a silver lining through it all.

The surgery, therapy and the senior season has given Crays a direction for his future.

He would like to study kineseology and work as a trainer for a team.

His physical problems appear to be leading to helping others suffering from athletic injuries.

But, the end of the basketball road isn't visible just yet.

He is playing in all-star games, has been invited to participate in the Top 60 senior workout and is hoping the right situation comes along in the weeks and months ahead.

His performances in those games and workouts will likely determine if the therapist of the future has basketball left to be played in the present.

Crays says he doesn't feel cheated by the knee problems that arose. He believes he wasn't able to totally show the world his talents his final two years - seasons that he admits were frustrating.

Still, if the career ends prematurely, he's trying to come to terms with the discovery of a life ambition.

"I'm not going to worry about it that much," Crays said. "I definitely want to play if I get a chance. That's all I've wanted to do for at last eight years. At the same time it has led me into something that I really want to do with exercise science and kineseology." Playing college basketball has been Crays' goal for the past eight years.

He played nearly year round in pursuit of that dream.

Time will tell if that dream continues, or a new one takes its place.

We hope that basketball can still be there for a player who gave more than most when it came to determination and suffering.

He certainly paid more than his fair share of the price of playing. It would be just fine if he gets a chance to complete his dream.