Ole Pete had himself a right fine holiday break. Got some great grub, saw some exciting Aggie games and best of all ran into some former Aggies who are making their way into the world at large. Going back five years, we remember Kelsey Crooks, a local student who went from Oņate High School to play for Lou Henson and the Aggies. Crooks became a regular in his junior year and his play led directly to several Aggie victories. He got his degree in industrial engineering and is now working at H.E.S in Phoenix. Crooks and his brother are sharing the expenses in Phoenix and making their way. The firm Crooks works for is in manufacturing and it fits perfectly into what he prepared himself to do when basketball was done.
Two other hombres are still playing the game, but they are getting a paycheck too, and like Crooks they earned degrees that will be there for them when the hoops scene is done. Fred Peete has guided his Dusseldorf team to a sixth-place spot in the 18-team German pro league. This is the same loop that former Aggie Mikko Noopila completed in for Braunsweig. Peete is the point guard for Dusseldorf and is in the top of the stats for assists and steals and is in the top 15 in scoring.
Martin Iti came back to check out the Mesilla Valley from Holland. Iti also wanted to touch base with the Ambassador,’ Trei Steward as well. Iti’s team is also in the first division but will not meet Peete’s squad as they stay within the country’s borders for their games. I had a chance to talk with the 7-0 foot Australian when he came to town and he said it took a while to get used to the customs and the cooler weather of Holland, but he was adapting. This is something Iti should be used to as he played in Taiwan and other countries with the Australian national team and of course had to get used to American customs when he came to school in this nation.
These three share a common bond other than winning for the Crimson and White. Peete and Iti both earned their degrees last spring, walking that aisle as two of the tallest graduates in school history. You can add Steward to that list of grads, because he is finishing up an advanced degree at NMSU before making his way into the coaching world.
Ole Pete’s heart fills with joy every time I get the chance to hear the success story of past Aggie athletes no matter if they were all-conference or just part of the team. It’s one of the benefits of the rich heritage of Aggie athletics that we all love.