Correne Jaax (died June 13, 1996) is an eight-time All-American (all star) in the Women's AAU amateur tournament. She was the backbone of outstanding teams from Wichita that were runners-up twice national AAU championship and finished in the top four nine times from 1929 to 1945.
A National Star
Jaax's team played under several names--Wallenstein-Raffman, Southern Kansas Stage Lines, Thurstons, Merchantettes, and Boeing Bombshells--but the key players on most of the teams were half dozen from Kansas high schools. She graduated from Maize High School in Kansas in 1928, and immediately joined the local Wallenstein-Raffman team. She came to national prominence the following year, when she led the Wallenstein-Raffman team to fourth place in the AAU tourney. In 1931, playing on the the Wichita Thurstons, she led the team to second place in the AAU tourney, and won her first All-American recognition.
In 1932, Jaax helped lead her team, now the Southern Kansas Stage Lines, take third place in the AAU tournament, and she was again selected as an All-American (all star). The following year, rejoining the Thurstons, her team again took third place, and Jaax was for the third time named an All-American.
In 1935, playing for the Wichita Merchantettes, Jaax, not going by her married name of Correne Jaax Smith, was named an All American for the fourth time. Back with the Thurstons in 1936, she took the team to fourth place in the AAU. The following year, she upped the finish to third place and won her fifth All-American recognition, and in 1938 brought the Wichita Thurstons a second place trophy for the second time since 1931, and again was named All-American.
Reviving Her Career
Jaax Smith was missing from the All-American ranks in the early 1940s, but in 1944 she reemerged in the forefront of women's basketball playing for the Wichita Boeings. Six years after her last All-American recognition she again became an all star, her seventh All-American title. In 1945, she led the Boeings to third place and tied for the Alline Banks for the Most Valuable Player recognition and All-American for the eighth time in her career. Jaax Smith also coached the Boeings team.
Jaax ranks as one of the all-time greats of women's AAU basketball, and was one of 16 named to the original Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame selected by the Helms Athletic Foundation. She was inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.