Jason Gardner had little time to enjoy his tour of Australia. Last week tragedy struck close to Gardner. Gardner has returned to his native Indianapolis to attend the funeral services of a close family friend.
Doug Mitchell, Gardner's high school coach at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., and two of his children were involved in a fatal auto accident on June 6. He and his daughter survived but 16-year old son Bryce was not as fortunate. He died instantly in the crash. Doug Mitchell and his daughter had to be cut out of the vehicle, however both are expected to survive.
The Mitchells were struck by a large truck carrying asphalt.
Bryce was very close to the North Central program, sat on the bench during games while his father coached and cheered as Gardner was leading them to a state championship in 1999. Bryce idolized Gardner and had looked forward to following ing Gardner's footsteps. He was entering his junior season as North Central's starting point guard.
Gardner travelled back to Indianapolis where he spoke at a memorial service at North Central Tuesday evening. Funeral services were held Wednesday. More than 1500 attended the services.