The San Antonio area was well represented at the Gannon Baker camp this past weekend. The event was held at the Texas A & M campus in College Station. My updates on many of the camp happenings can be viewed at Shes Ballin Twitter. Some local news:
Local Players: Recee' Caldwell (Johnson HS) , Nikki Nolan ( MacArthur), Ebony Easter (O'Conner), Kyra Lambert (Dolby MS), Monica Perez ( Madison)
With over 100 kids at the event, I noticed a total of 6 players from the SA area. The camp started off as strictly an invite event but morphed into an open clinic. With this fact, it would have been great to see more SA area players in such a great event.
Other Players of Note: Moriah Jefferson(#3 player in 2012) , Courtney Walker (2012 Oklahoma commit), Rachel Mitchell( #16 player in 2011/Texas A&M commit), Ronisha Major( #56 player in 2011/Texas commit), Courtney Williams(#20 player in 2012/Texas A&M commit). Jessica Jackson ( Top 15 player in 2013), Coutyce Knox(Top 100 player in 2012), Sylvana Okde( Top 100 player in 2012), Imani Wright ( Top 100 player in 2012), AJ Alix(Top 100 player in (2013), Brianna Turner(Top 5 player in 2014), Brooke McCarty(Top 10 player in 2014).
This is just a partial list of the superior talent at the event. This was THE place to see where kids stand in terms of skill and talent.
Gannon Baker: Gannon is the "go to" man for Nike developmental camps and clinics. For those of you who have not seen Baker, he is a sight to see. His energy is unmatched. He trains high school, college and pro players such as Amare Stoudemire. He spent Sunday's lunch break training a few boys including J-Mychal Reese(#28 player in 2012).
Observations- With all the great talent, it was obvious what kids consistently work on their games. To see so many elite kids with such bad understanding of simple basketball moves/actions was eye opening. I lost count of how many times I witnessed elite players jumping off of the wrong foot in drills not out of craftiness, a la Steve Nash, but out of lack of refinement. While the athleticism was off the charts, the need for more skills clinics was very evident. Speaking with an ESPN Hoopgurlz analyst, I asked the difference between college players and pros to which he replied, " great skills, strength and shooting". He went on the explain that most everyone at the D1 level is fast or fast enough to neutralize each others speed . He went on to say that it is the players that are physically strong, can shoot extremely well and are supremely skilled that become pros. I immediately thought about players like Becky Hammon and Sue Bird. They may not be track stars that can touch the rim but supreme skill sets allow them to thrive at the pro level. Camps and instructors like Gannon Baker help instill the requisite skills that these players need. It's scary to see how good Moriah Jefferson is compared to others. She is the rare kid who is track star fast and skills to match. She will be a pro!
-Ebony Easter had the opportunity to face the basket and exhibit her guard skills. She played very well at times. She hit numerous open 3's in some of the big scrimmages vs. great competition. Held more than her own vs. some great players.
-2015 Kyra Lambert fears no one. Her athleticism allows her to play up vs. elite competition and her skill set is advanced for her age. She represented well when she was assertive. She needed to be more selfish at times. She showed why she is considered one of the best young guards in the state, if not nation in her class.
- Recee' Caldwell- Still 13 years old, she is solidifying herself as one of the best guards in the nation irregardless of class. An elite 3 point shooter, she fell in love with her mid-range game instead of taking what the defense gave her at times. Her new found ability to get her shot off at will has left her trying to balance between running a team and knowing when to produce points.
Nikki Nolan- I fell in love with this kid! I heard how hard the small guard for MacArthur competes but her passion is infective. She is nasty defensively. What she lacks in size and speed, she makes up for in intelligence and effort. When grouped with more publicized and talented players, SHE WAS THE LEADER! I left the camp a real fan of hers.
All in all, it was a great event with talent galore. Hopefeully, San Antonio players/parents will increasingly support events such as this. It was a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the nation while learning from one of the best trainers in the world.