Local travel basketball program growing in numbers, successes


Steven Wingler saw a lot of talent on the basketball courts across Jackson County but not many opportunities to gain exposure for the game past high school.

The 2011 Brownstown Central High School graduate had spent two years coaching travel teams in Greensburg but couldn’t find anything along the same lines when returning home.

In 2014, Wingler and his friend, Michael Janikowski, had an idea to start a travel basketball program.

The program, dubbed the Southern Indiana Shock, has grown over the past four years and looks to continue fulfilling a need for players inside and out of the area.

Wingler said when he started getting everything together four years ago, he contacted a handful of coaches from across the county for support.

With the help of Kyle Clough (former Seymour boys coach), Greg Kilgore (Crothersville) and Michael Leitzman (former Medora coach), Wingler got the ball rolling. Wingler also thanked Brownstown junior varsity coach Marty Young and former Trinity Lutheran varsity head coach Aaron Rudzinski for getting the program started.

When the Shock first started, they had two teams. They are now up to eight teams.

In 2018, the Shock have 11U through 17U boys teams and a 13U girls team.

“It has been a lot. It isn’t what I imagined what it would be and so quick,” Wingler said. “I think when you do things the right way, good things happen. That’s the way I think about it. A lot of guys have helped me out.”

Wingler is the program director, and Caleb Minton is the associate director for the Shock.

Over the past three years, 16 players who have played for the Shock committed to college programs, Wingler said.

Most all of those athletes went to small NAIA or Division III schools, and just six of those players committed to a sport other than basketball.

Wingler said many kids and parents in the area don’t realize or have the resources to gain the exposure needed for college programs.

Using a recruiting site, Wingler said he is able to showcase the Shock players to colleges of all sizes and levels.

Wingler said one of the main focuses of the program is to help the local high school teams.

“We want to benefit them more than they benefit us. We can work together and help the kids build confidence and continue playing,” Wingler said. “You’re going to see in-season success for the high school programs, as well. That’s one of our main missions.”

While the Shock aren’t an AAU team, they travel across the state playing in a variety of tournaments. Wingler said the teams have played in Midwest Youth, Barnstorm Basketball Association, AND1 and grassroots-type tournaments.

“We try to mix it up,” Wingler said. “We want to find a mix of competition where the kids can get exposure. We want them to have success playing against top-level kids.”

On average, the teams practice twice per week at different schools across the county. The program also is open to players from other counties and has kids from Scottsburg, Henryville, New Albany and a few other communities in the mix.

For many players, the program is the first opportunity to play on a travel basketball team.

”A lot of the kids are learning. A lot of them have never played travel basketball before,” Wingler said. “It’s a lot different. It’s cutthroat out there. I’m excited to watch the kids grow as they stay in the program.”

Wingler, who is an assistant coach for Brownstown Central High School’s football team, said the program encourages kids to participate in multiple sports.

“I tell them to go play other sports and to have that experience. In the springtime, we work around baseball, track, whatever they are doing,” Wingler said. “There are not a lot of (travel basketball) teams that will do that. As long as their parents are upfront with me, we can work around it.”

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Those leading the teams for the Indiana Southern Shock include:

17U: Josh McBurrows 

16U: Steven Wingler

15U: Caleb Minton and Andrew Clark

14U: Sam Hayes and Steven Wingler

13U: Korey White and Parker Phelps

12U: Glenn Meek

11U: Jason Fowler

13U girls: Chuck Carroll

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The Southern Indiana Shock have put together a successful summer. Their accomplishments have included:

Fourth/Fifth Grade Championships

BBA Hoosier Hoopfest-Bloomington

Legacy NIT-Lafayette

Seventh Grade Runner-Up

BBA Hoosier Hoopfest-Bloomington

Eighth Grade Runner-Up

IUSAB Spring Bling-Bloomington

Ninth Grade Championships

MYT Roundball Rumble-Bloomington

BBA Hoosier Hoopfest-Bloomington

IUSAB Spring Bling-Bloomington

MYT War on the Floor-Bloomington

Gatorade Invite (Silver Champs)-Terre Haute

Ninth Grade Runner-Up

USAB Indiana State Championships (Lost to Adidas Gauntlet participant IN Red Storm)

BBA Boys of Summer Classic

The ninth grade also was invited to participate in The Association presented by Gatorade, where they went 4-2 in Circuit play and lost to a NIKE EYBL Circuit Team CGB from Tennessee by two points in the quarterfinals.

10/11th Grade Championships

BBA Boys of Summer Classic


The 16/17U has not won any tournaments this season but has competed in some of the top events in the spring, including the AND1 DTG Circuit, USAB State Championships and Adidas Super 16. They have competed against come of the top independent teams and many shoe-sponsored clubs.


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