Today’s SPOTLIGHT PLAYER is JADA BAKER OF BARNEGAT HIGH SCHOOL. There are players that have to rise above adversities during their career. Those that do become very successful. They have a greater appreciation for all that comes their way. Nothing has been easy for Jada Baker, the odds have been stacked against her almost every step of the way. Yet she has stayed the course and it’s one of the reasons she is coming out of the shadows.
Barnegat High School and Jada Baker both have something in common. They both have had to fight for respect. Jada Baker, two years ago, sat out because of a Bone Contusion beneath the kneecap in the fall of her sophomore year. She did not return until the final 5 games of the year. It was a tough loss for both her and Barnegat. Barnegat was in the process of building something special. While Jada watched in her sophomore year, Barnegat surprised everyone and had one of the best seasons in school history. They won 16 games and Tammy Nicolini was named HOOP GROUP COACH OF THE YEAR. This season, many believed Barnegat would be hard pressed to have another successful year. But everyone forgot Jada Baker was returning. They forgot she was one of the best babies in Ocean County. She averaged over 5 points and 4 rebounds a game. She was one of the players that started the Barnegat renewal. She was one of the building blocks for what we see today. So this season Barnegat had an even better record and another record breaking season…with 18 wins. Shannon McCoy was the star, but it was the return of Jada Baker, that everyone forgot about. It was Baker, who almost averaged a double/double with 8 points and over 9 rebounds a game, that really changed everything. Barnegat won a SCT game for the first time in schools history. They won their first two state games in schools history and upset the #1seed Cinnaminson. You can point right now Jada Baker as one of the main reasons all these wonderful things happened
Last spring I saw Jada Baker in the gym. I was amazed how hard she worked. I was even more impressed with her attitude. She was one of the players who did the dirty work and enjoyed doing it. She was a player that played with such purpose and unselfishness, she had to catch your eye. It’s strange, that she is not very well known even in Ocean County. Think about some of the games she had last season. They were jaw dropping performances in some of the biggest games of the year. This is what she did against top ten Manchester.. 9 rebounds and 6 points…against top 10 Jax Mem all she did was have double/double with 10 rebounds and 10 points. She had a double/double vs Ocean with 12/12. She had 11 points and 7 rebounds against Shore Top 10 Donavan Catholic. Then in the state tourney vs. Top 20 Cinnaminson she had 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. Jada Baker is a 2019 doing all this after surgery a year ago. What’s next nobody can predict.
What makes Jada Baker’s story so different is despite everything that has happened to her. She is still one of the most positive people you will ever be around. She understands that basketball is a team game. It’s why this Spring I noticed she was one of the few girls that really went the extra mile on defense. She not only defends her opponent, but plays great team defense and always seems to be the first player back in transition. These are team building type plays. I marvel when she comes to the gym (always the first one) and will shoot for a hour and then join a training session after a 90 min team practice. You see some kids just get it. Jada Baker gets it and gets it in a big way. What she really doesn’t understand is that the coaches will be coming. Some will read this very blog and go who is this young lady, I am writing about today. So I will give them a real head start and a peep into what she really is like as a player.
Here is what you need to know about Jada Baker, first when she walks in the gym, she is always smiling. She is warm approachable and coachable. College coaches this will help your team chemistry and you know she will buy into your programs culture ..100%. Next, she is so competitive it will at times, stop you in your tracks. She competes with fire and a next level energy you do not teach. This is something you either have or you don’t…JADA BAKER HAS IT!! Remember she is a team player, so she will do what ever Coach Nicolini asks her to do. She is always forced to guard bigger opponents during the high school season. But I have seen her against some of the best players in the shore. She can guard forwards, guards, swings, centers…heck she can guard just about anything on two legs. She is a next level versatile defender. But what I love best about her game, is that she is sneaky. She can knock down three’s when left open. She is automatic inside 18 feet with either a deadly pull up jumper or off the bounce to smoke an opponent at the rim. Her first step is fun to watch because as I said its….SNEAKY.
“I am a big believer that things always work out; especially in recruiting on its own time table. Jada Baker real soon will be in heavy demand. She will be a kid colleges will fall in love with, because the entire package is what programs look for. Jada Baker, saw Barnegat go from a program in the shadows to being a program everyone respects. It just took time, just like it has taken time for everyone to realize Jada Baker, is special. She is special and its not because of what she does on the court. But rather because of her ability to see things though every step of the way, regardless of what has been put in front of her….JADA BAKER IS ON HER WAY FOLKS…and everyone will be there to WELCOME HER… WHEN SHE ARRIVES”… Tiny Green
THE BAKER FILE…
JADA BAKER …doing work https://t.co/2SPWD76BML
— ellonya Tiny Green (@CoachTinyGreen) June 18, 2018
JULY LIVE SCHEDULE, SHORESHOTS(Allen)
JULY 22-25th…WASHINGTON, DC
JULY 29TH…ACADMEIC ELITE, Neptune, Hoop Group