When Trinity Lutheran girls basketball coach Mike Lang was getting ready for the team’s camp at the high school last week, he was hoping he would have a special guest willing to help out over the four days of activities.
The scheduling happened to work out perfectly, allowing former Trinity all-star Sydney Jaynes to be present during the camp and help coach the kids in attendance.
Jaynes, the only Trinity all-star in program history, plays Division I basketball at Butler University.
“It’s great. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to do coaching, but I love criticizing the girls,” Jaynes said. “They’re taking it very, very well. They’re doing better than I thought, and I just love coming back and giving back to the little kids. I know they look up to me, and I just want to be a good role model.”
Jaynes was working with the older group at the camp.
“I’m working on communication, a lot of footwork and just being strong with the ball,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing that was a shock to me in high school was how strong everyone was, so trying to get them ready for that.”
Jaynes is currently the all-time scoring leader in school history with 1,598 career points, which will soon be overtaken by Bailey Tabeling, who is heading into her senior year at Trinity with 1,583 points.
In addition to individual skills, Jaynes wanted the campers to be engaged with each drill and talking to one another.
“Being a good teammate,” she said. “The other day, we were going through a drill and it was really quiet. I was like, ‘Listen, if you guys want to have fun, you’ve got to cheer each other on.’ Teaching them how to make a team, family atmosphere.”
After Jaynes’ first season with Butler wrapped up, there was a coaching vacancy, and she entered the transfer portal and was being re-recruited by a bunch of the different schools that recruited her out of high school. One of them happened to be IUPUI, who was coached by Austin Parkinson.
But Parkinson wound up getting the head coaching job at Butler, so Jaynes decided to stay.
“It was the best of both worlds,” she said.
Jaynes had a lot of hometown people watch her play last season, and Lang hopes that increases this year after Jaynes helped out at the camp last week.
“It’s amazing. We’ve got a lot of IU and Purdue basketball fans in here. Hopefully after this week, we have a lot more Butler Bulldog fans, to say the least,” Lang said. “She has gone a great job forming individual and personal relationships with the groups that she has worked with. That goes back to Syd and I having a good relationship. She wanted to come back here and work the camp.”
In addition to Jaynes, there were a number of current Trinity players who were there to work the camp and help teach the kids.
It was important for Lang to have his team be part of it.
“We’ve got to be ambassadors to the school and ambassadors to the game,” he said. “They’re understanding this is part of giving back and wanting to become a role model, having little kids look up to you, so when they come to the games, they can be like, ‘I worked with Sydney Jaynes, Madison Keith, Liza Froedge, Laura Roeder, you name it.’ There’s going to be that personal relationship there, and that’s what it’s about.”
The younger kids were taught a lot of fundamentals at the camp, while Lang said they treated the older kids like it was a high school practice, teaching them Trinity’s motion offense.
Both Lang and Jaynes were impressed at how skilled the kids were at camp.
“I’m super impressed,” Jaynes said. “We start off with really simple drills, but then we critique things to keep advancing up. They’re picking it up so quickly, and I’m just proud.”
Jaynes will head back to Butler this summer to continue working on her game in the offseason.
As for the Trinity girls team, the Cougars are at a DI camp in Fort Wayne this week to get some good competitive games in for this summer.
“Going to play a lot of games in two days, learn a little bit about ourselves,” Lang said. “We’re losing five seniors, so we’ve got to figure out who we are. I don’t care if we win any games, but we’re going to get better and become a closer group.”