Baker teaches fundamentals, finer details for players, coaches

With several dozen pairs of eyes on him, Ganon Baker describes the intricacies of his next drill. Shot fake, jab step right, jump shot. He shoots right-handed from 23 feet out. Swish."If you're left-handed," he said, not finishing his sentence, c...

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Renowned basketball trainer Ganon Baker, left, is guarded by Alison Scheetz, a freshman guard at Dakota College of Bottineau, during drills Wednesday at Baker’s basketball camp at Dickinson High Gymnasium. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

With several dozen pairs of eyes on him, Ganon Baker describes the intricacies of his next drill.
Shot fake, jab step right, jump shot. He shoots right-handed from 23 feet out. Swish.
“If you’re left-handed,” he said, not finishing his sentence, choosing instead to display the same prowess with his own off-hand. He swishes again.
On the third day of his basketball skills camp at Dickinson High Gymnasium on Wednesday, Baker’s enthusiasm and athletic ability, even at 43, was evident.
“I taught myself how to do that through an injury when I was 12,” Baker said of his ambidextrous shooting touch. “I learned how to shoot and play with my left hand through an injury. I kind of kept it in my playing repertoire, in my toolbag, so I could gain an advantage on quicker guys.”
Further, it demonstrates his value as a basketball trainer.
“If you can show them and tell them, you’re on another level,” he said. “Some coaches can just tell them. I can show them.”
Through his three days of working with local girls basketball players - the boys camp starts today and runs through Saturday - Baker harped on the value of repetition of drills and doing them with a purpose and a passion.
“A lot of kids this age can’t create their own energy, so I create it for them,” Baker said, “and it makes workouts fun.”
Among the players present at the camp, a handful represented Dickinson High, and they came away thankful for the experience.
“It’s made me realize a lot more that, as a team, we need to communicate a lot more,” junior Jayde Lawlar said. “Myself, if I want to be a leader, I need to be a lot louder and more vocal and try to help the girls bring up the caliber of the team.”
Sophomore Alexus Meduna anticipates the Midgets to be more active during games and practices, another product of Baker’s teachings.
“It’s taught us to keep our energy level up more in practices and push each other more,” Meduna said. “It’s nice to see the program, people here getting better as a team. … He’s really taught us that to be good, you have to put in all the effort and have that passion for the game.”
Midgets girls basketball head coach Alysia Barman said the camp also allowed her to learn and grow in her position.
“As a coach, I’ve learned a ton of different drills. I think too often we get stuck in doing the same drills over and over, and he’s presented a lot of different things,” Barman said. “It’s nice to have somebody of such high caliber come in and say some of the things to the kids that you preach all year long. It’s been a great learning experience for myself.”
Baker involved himself in all of the camp’s drills, roaming from basket to basket to offer pointers. As is his nature, he did so with a mentality that expected the best.
“I am demanding because I think kids need to go through hard because at the end of hard is success,” Baker said. “Life is a good mix of winning and losing, so if you’re not preparing these kids to act like a winner, then what are you preparing them for? Life is not comfortable, life is not easy, so your practices shouldn’t be.”
Baker’s approach is tough love compounded with dedication that rivals nothing else.
“It makes you realize he loves the game of basketball,” Lawlar said. “If you truly love it, you’d be acting the same way. It gives me motivation to go out and work harder.”

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