MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ben Johnson played for the Gophers, Eric Crawford played at the University of Northern Iowa and now both are coaches for Crawford’s college.

Johnson and Crawford played their high school basketball in Minnesota. Eric Crawford came on the scene at Tartan High School; Johnson played for DeLaSalle High School. Both fell in love with the game.

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The two are now assistant coaches for the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The pair is learning how to coach in a top flight program. And, so far, their boss seems impressed.

Ben Jacobson, the UNI head coach, said Johnson has grown up with some of the best people in Minnesota basketball. As for Crawford, Jacobson said he was one of the best players to ever play at UNI.

“He’s got tremendous respect both as a player and as a person,” Jacobson said.

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Giving back to young players is what Johnson likes best about coaching.

“I think … going through it and being in their situation, I have a pretty good idea of what they are going through,” he said.

Crawford said he likes seeing his kids hone their skills and grow as players.

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Crawford’s favorite aspect of coaching is: “Seeing kids come in as freshmen and thinking they have all the answers, then breaking them down and helping them grow.”

Mike Max