Call Derek Budka a techno-geek and he'll smile, shake your hand and say thank you.
"I like the reputation," Budka said. "That's what I consider myself to be."
For the last five years, Budka's dad Rick has been the girls basketball coach at South Central, and Derek has served as his team manager, though towels and water bottles don't begin to define his title.
Back in seventh grade, when Rick worked as a volunteer assistant for then-Satellites boys coach John Steinhilber, Derek helped out with the videotaping. When Rick took the girls position the following year, Derek's role began to expand and evolve, along with his computer expertise.
Armed with his first laptop, he began to explore ways to spread the word about the team. He and his dad collaborated on game programs, calendars and posters. Derek also caught the social media wave, creating a team website, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter page.
Except for T-Ball when Derek was little and a season of basketball in sixth grade, Derek didn't have lot of coach/dad-player/son memories with his dad, so he also enjoyed the experience on a personal level.
"It was good bonding time," he said. "It was a lot of fun. I'm going to miss it next year. I almost wish I could stay back."
Instead, Budka will be off to Ball State to study computer technology. Thanks to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association's Marian Crawley scholarship, he'll be getting a $750 bump. Budka is one of only three managers to be honored out of 34 total recipients. Taylor Equihua (Crown Point) and Tylissa Fulgham (Highland) were among the players recognized.
"It's pretty rewarding, knowing all the work I've done has paid off, that I'm getting known for it," Budka said. "It makes me feel good about myself."
The award takes the edge off of a disappointing spring for Budka, a cross country and track runner. He fell on a run March 1, fracturing his left elbow. He underwent surgery, having plates and screws inserted for stability. Budka was able to compete in a few recent meets to get some athletics closure, though it wasn't how he planned to finish high school.
"It was a way to say my senior year was done," Budka said.
Not that Budka hasn't been busy anyway. He works alongside South Central technology officer Larry Fleck.
"It's pretty cool learning stuff," he said. "I'm known throughout the school as the 'tech guy.' People are like, 'Hey Derek, can you fix this?'
One of Budka's next projects is to make sure he can pass the computer baton along to ensure that what he's started continues after he's left Union Mills.
"I'm going to have to teach someone how to do it so we can keep people up to date," he said.