This week we had the pleasure of welcoming AAU Treasurer, Ron Crawford to the 2013 AAU Basketball Nationals Championships and Super Showcase. His team, the Arkansas Wings Elite, competed in the 8th Grade DI Nationals earlier in the tournament and his 15U team is currently participating in the 9th Grade Super Showcase. Later in the tournament, the 16U team will compete in the 10th Grade DI Nationals and then the 11th grade boys will close out the tournament with 17U defending their Division I National Championship title. The 11th grade boys will also compete in the DII National Championship and the Super Showcase Silver bracket.
Three generations have now been a part of the Arkansas Wings basketball program, and it all started with Mr. Crawford himself. Mr. Crawford was a part of the Men’s AAU and City League with the McDonnell Douglas Wings and helped bring home the gold in the City and Company Championships in 1967 and 1968. The Arkansas Wings were formed in 1980 from Mr. Crawford’s two teams and once he had his own family, his son, Keith began playing with the newly formed Arkansas Wings. Keith Crawford had the opportunity to travel to Stockholm, Sweden where his team won the Stockholm Basket Cup. The Wings were also undefeated in Arkansas Association play for the first five years, ending with the top ten finishers in the National Championships while Keith was on the team.
Keith Crawford didn’t give up basketball once he stopped playing though. He currently is in his fourth year of coaching the Wings, with the team finished fifth in the 17U Division II Championships. Now, Keith’s two sons, Trenton and Trace, are playing AAU with the Wings on the 17U and 15U teams. Trenton just received his first medal and his younger brother is playing in the 15U Super Showcase at ESPN Wide World of Sports this week after competing in the 15U DII National Championship Tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas last week, which his grandfather, Ron Crawford, coached for the 35th straight year.
To say the Crawfords are an AAU Family would be an understatement. Ron’s wife, Linda, is the Co-Chair of the Convention Committee and has been extremely supportive of the AAU’s mission to impact lives of young men and women through the Real AAU experience. Ron’s grand-daughter, Ashlin, played in the Girls’ AAU Program and they Crawford family is hopeful that their six year old great grand-daughter will continue the legacy when she is older.
Over the years, Arkansas has collected 9 National Championship titles, earning 5 of those in a six year span from 1990-95 and then again in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. The Wings have 32 Final Four Finishes and 63 Top Ten finishes in the AAU National Championship Tournaments and they are hoping to bring home a few more after the AAU Basketball National Championship in Orlando, FL this year.
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