PREP SPOTLIGHT: Jahzeer Baker
By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Junior Jahzeer Baker is a combo guard on South Central's undefeated boys' basketball team. Baker chatted with Reflector prep sports beat writer Jordan Anders before Wednesday's game against North Lenoir about his favorite part of being a Falcon and his go-to move on the floor.
Q: Let's start at the beginning. When did you first pick up a basketball?
A: I'd say I was about 5. Me and my mom were out in the driveway dribbling all the time. That's what I remember.
Q: What got you into playing it?
A: It was just a form of me thinking that was my way out, a personal calling from God. That's what I thought he made me for. Me and my family are kind of deep into basketball. We love it.
Q: You play some point guard and some shooting guard for the Falcons. Which do you prefer?
A: I prefer to distribute the ball. I'm a pass-first guard, so I love to be a point guard.
Q: Most kids nowadays are all about shooting the ball, and it's rare a player tells me they love to pass. Why do you enjoy being a pass-first point guard?
A: Just seeing the excitement on a teammate's face when I distribute a good pass, and making them better. That's something I've always loved to do. I've always been a selfless kind of guy.
Q: Is your passing what you feel like is your strongest attribute as a player?
A: I wouldn't say that. I would say the strongest part of my game now would be defense. I love defense. Defense is your offense and that's the strongest part of my game, but the passing is the strongest piece of me on the offensive side.
Q: It's interesting you say you love defense, because you play for a coach in Chris Cherry who puts a lot of emphasis on having a vaunted defense. Do you feel like your love of playing defense helps you connect with him and this team a little more?
A: It just helps our relationship. He loves defense and I love defense, so that makes us have a stronger bond. We might bump heads here and there, but defense is what we do best and love the best.
Q: There are a lot of talented players on this team. Tell me which player on this team you think would be the toughest 1-on-1 opponent.
A: I'd say my toughest would be either (guard) Shykeim (Phillips) or (post player) Day'ron (Sharpe). Day'ron is so versatile, you think all he's going to do is back you up and he'll pull up. With Shy, he's so fast, so he can stop and then he'll go and you'll never see it. Then you've got (guard) Tajh (Riddick), who's so smooth and you think he's going to pull up and he'll drive right by you. Everybody on the team really is tough. They've all got something they do that's real skillful.
Q: You talked about all their moves, but what's your go-to move offensively?
A: My go-to would probably be between-the-legs pause on you. I'll just pause and see if you bite on it. If you bite, I'll go past. If you don't, I'll pull up or crossover. That's my favorite.
Q: What's your favorite thing to do outside of basketball?
A: My favorite thing is probably hanging around my family and friends and my girl. That's all I do, but like I said, basketball is pretty much all we do so if I'm with one of them, we're either talking about it or watching it or I'm reffing because that's my job. I ref little kids games, so pretty much all my life is sports and books.
Q: How young are the kids you officiate for?
A: We're talking 12-and-under.
Q: What's that like?
A: It gets heated. [laughs]. That's why I don't really get on the refs as much as I used to, because I see that I make mistakes the same as they can. We're all human at the end of the day. It gave me a better understanding of what happens in the game flow.
If you have a suggestion for a player to be featured in Prep Spotlight, contact Jordan Anders at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.