Recap: 2014 Ganon Baker Junior Skills National Basketball Camp

“Let’s Get After It” – Ganon Baker




Middle School Elite was on deck to cover the three day Ganon Baker Junior Skills National Camp in Delray Beach, Florida this past weekend (June 13-15) and we must admit it was indeed a fun, educational, challenging and wholesome event. Parents, players and coaches traveled from over sixteen states and one country: VA, PA, CA, MN, NJ, TN, TX, AL, VA, NY, FL, AZ, IN, NC, DE, WY and Canada.  Due to severe weather conditions on Friday, our connecting flight to West Palm, FL was diverted to Orlando’s airport, twenty minutes before our scheduled landing. In midair the pilot announced they would refuel the plane while awaiting clearance. He also advised passengers not to exit the plane, because the airport was already crowded with people sidetracked from  Miami, where rain made it dangerous to land. We were delayed forty five to sixty minutes. Once our flight reached its final destination, we had to wait forty five minutes for car service which came after 8:30 P.M. Although, we didn’t get to watch kids on day one, the plush Hyatt hotel near Atlantic avenue offered a good night rest for the early morning. At 8:45 A.M., Ganon Baker arrived at the hotel tophoto(105) pick us up in a grey mini van; camp was set to commence at 9:30 A.M. It was surreal to ride shotgun with the likeness of Baker, who’s trained middle school, high school, college and pro/NBA players; and helped launch Michah Lancaster career. On the short drive to the gym, Ganon talked about the powerful man upstairs and his Elev8 Basketball Academy. He even expressed a new found passion for training youth, since getting to better know MSE and recognizing the dire need of obtaining skill early. As we pulled up to the facility, we saw a big  blue & white – Ganon Baker Jr. Skill National Camp – Banner tied to the fence. Inside the gym, a Core Protein Drink promotion company representative had a booth near the main entrance. Water, Gatorade, Core Protein drinks and Ganon Baker merchandise were prizes for campers who answered a basketball-  related question correctly, sunk a free throw or trey ball. Baker even bet Nike shoes, which no one could win. While campers warmed up, Ganon shot free trows with left and right hand. He missed several, as if not to appear perfect. Beyond the three point line, he launched shots that dropped more often than not. Following his shooting exercise, he jumped rope reminiscent of Rocky III and Eye of the Tiger or Floyd  Mayweather training for a world fight. Everyone could see the hard – work and sincerity Baker exuded; his ability to demand complete attention from kid’s and adult’s alike. He  demonstrated a number of basic to advanced moves and showed how to handle difficult game situations. The film study component was composed mostly of San Antonio Spurs (Tim Dunkin, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili etc…) game footage – Baker emphasized their leadership, photo(106)selfishness and team camaraderie. The word of the weekend was – “reciprocity”. Baker is a firm disciple of “mutual” respect and “equal rights”. Desk with chairs attached were atop the gym’s stage, where camper’s sat with a pen and  notepad to write key principles they had learn in ‘class’.  The drills and games were new, challenging and competitive, but yet entertaining.  Between Saturday and Sunday, we saw everyday improvement in player’s technical skill, attention/ awareness, game knowledge and experience.  They weren’t  narrow minded and turnover prone (tunnel vision) as previously.  The immature sloppy play, revolved into skillful organized basketball. Subsequent to witnessing several action packed games consisting of excellent talent, we ended Saturday night having dinner with Ganon Baker, his staff and family, including his wife, a former high major college player and current women’s D1 college coach, as well as their Elite new born baby boy.  The mix of celebration served as sustenance for the next morning, where we’d get one last look at players, before heading back home. Sunday morning, Baker picked us up earlier than Saturday, and he was definitely humbler. ” Today is defense” said Baker as he  held a small cup of fresh coffee in his right hand while keeping his left hand on the steering wheel. He avoided temptation of self praise and put kid’s always first. Being at the Ganon Baker Jr. Skill National Camp seemed like a normal procedure of growing up in life. Baker warned campers, “defense or die”, of course metaphorically speaking. He explained how to move without the ball, seal defenders and several ways to pivot. He detailed what to do on defense, “go chest to chest with ball handler if picks up dribble” and distinctively, how to box out for rebound. He divulged untold secrets and tricks of basketball. Sunday’s hoop was exhilarating, but imagine if players been sharpened their tools. There was plenty happening simultaneously as  each camper was supplied their own tennis ball, a jump rope and a basketball to practice the impossible skill of amazing Ganon Baker. Sunday concluded with dozens of parents and players posing for flicks next to Baker, who delivered heartfelt instruction. Players, families and coaches deserve acknowledgement for supporting, which Baker certainly agrees. Here are some players whose overall game stood out at the Florida 2014 Ganon Baker Jr. Skill National Camp.

Kenny Dye

Kenny Dye

class of 2018, Kenny Dye from North Carolina performed admirable on Saturday and Sunday. We’d like to judge him playing against athletes at least his speed. Dye was brilliant with the ball in drills and games, although he’s still young. Nevertheless, he played smart and controlling. He makes the right play whether a pass, shot or attack. He’s a good decision maker who competed on both ends of the floor. You might catch Dye smiling in his middle school graduating pictures, but not on the basketball court.

Lyndon Brandon is a 6’4″ specimen, who has gift of height, but scarcity of skill disabled him from preventing harm to others and self. He spent his share of time on the sideline as a result of injury. Lyndon miraculously gather his feet by time  camp concluded Sunday afternoon – he was more confident having realized his skill potential. He’s actually a 7th grader, who’s skipped a grade last year. We don’t think it’s necessary to reclassify to get back a year, because he may want to try and get an academic scholarship.

Clinton Harris, checked in at six – feet and played a entirely fast pace game, dominating the stat sheet in all categories. He plays as if obsessed to score; dictates the flow of the game and plays in a straight line to the rim. His energy & intensity is that of Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, when they were Harris’ age. Baker stressed camper’s not to “fast break” instead “sprint break”. Well, Harris did exactly that from start to finish and has a non – stop motor. He’s an up tempo, physical player with killer instinct – a  mid major at best.

Lyndon Brandon

Lyndon Brandon

6’1″, Tristian Bufkin (IN) held it down with his left hand, which is his strong one. He needs to work on his right hand otherwise, he has good court presence. Sets good ball screens and rolls well. He verbally communicates with teammates and able to bring the ball up using either hand. Ironically, he picked up his dribble one too many times which let us see his deep potential. We look forward to his development over the years.

Rising seventh grader, Jaxson Jameson (Harrisonburg, VA) is a 4’9″ diminutive, hard – nose, point guard. He’s one we decided to highlight early on since, he played like a real champ under pressure against bigger and stronger opponents. The young heavy weight touched gloves and threw leather whenever hit with it. Jameson used a potent combination of pure skill and will to successfully beat the play every time. He is a knock out three point shooter off the dribble and catch; especially when left open. We can’t wait to watch Jameson at the next Ganon Baker camp and curious to where he’ll play for high school.

Corbin Franco from Burleson, Texas might be one of the best shooters in the class of 2019, because of his shocking perfect form. His shooting hand remains slightly higher than his help hand and holds his follow through until the ball hits the floor.  When making a shot, he jumps and lands in the same spot, shows good balance, rhythm and arch. Don’t let the good guy face fool you! Franco is now officially a full fledged student – athlete, who exemplifies passion and love for the best sport on earth, basketball.

4th thru 8th grade players are listed below in no particular order. Stay tuned as Middle School Elite Dot Com recap further develops.

Corbin Franco

Corbin Franco

Jahari Bryant Locust Grove, VA

Daniel Dambrosia Philadelphia, PA

Quinn Denker San Jose, CA

Edward Deskins Fredericksburg, VA

Nathan Drohman St. Francis, MN

Isaiah Edmond Lincoln Park,, NJ

Zachery Fletcher Kingsport, TN

Jaime Uvalle, Laredo, TX

Zachery Golaszewski Woodlands, TX

Miles Jones Braircliff Manor, NY

Joshua Lahn Ontario Canada

Mason MacEachern Ontario Canada

James Madill New York

Evan Mears Tennessee

Tyren Montgomery Woodlands, TX

Vernon Morris Howell, NJ

Josh Mosley WY

Malachi Poindexter Louisa, VA

Jackson Prince McAllen, TX

Mikie Ramos Palmhurst, TX

Khai Seargeant Fredericksburg, VA

Seneca Willoughby Jr. Bear, DE

Michael Billingsley Fairview, TX

Elijah De La Garza Mission, TX

Brett Hardt Scottsdale, AZ

Ricky Good -Wright Spotsylvania, VA

Sam Chester woodlands, TX

Owen Abramson TX

Nathan Adcox Texas

Christgian Bridgewater Birmington, AL

Grant Brown  TX

Matt Chester Woodlands, TX

Joshua Dean Humble, TX

Caleb Edwards Indiantown, FL

Corbin Franco Texas

Clinton Harris AL

Alex Mummert Pennington, NJ

Worthy Tinney Jenkintown, PA

Anthony Camino Canada

Esteban Guera Texas

Jacob Labonte Ontaio Canada

Joseph Garcia Laredo, TX

Hunter Ruck Scottsdale, AZ

Dylon Hovanec Alabama

Blake Phillips McAllen, Texax

Roberto Mandujuano Laredo Texas

Sergio Vela Laredo  Texas

Stay tuned to for exclusive updates on those players at the Ganon Baker Jr. Skill National Camp in Florida.

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