One of the best basketball training videos I’ve ever had was Ganon Baker’s “Training in the Triple Threat – 34 ways to create space,” which I bought in 2007. This masterpiece is just one of 72 best-selling basketball DVD’s produced by Baker. Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of meeting Coach Ganon when he conducted a two-hour skills training for the San Beda Red Lions in Mendiola.
Baker is widely considered as one of the very best basketball trainers in the world that specializes in individual skills, especially in ball-handling, passing, shooting and attacking the basket. Having been in the business of teaching hoops for 17 years now, he has shared the basketball court with some of the greatest ballers the world has ever seen like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, among so many others. Baker also became NBA star Amare Stoudemire’s workout partner for many years. In fact, some basketball personalities in the States regard him as the Michael Jordan of hoops skills training. Many NBA Draft applicants attend his pre-Draft camps in Florida to prepare for a possible NBA stint. Even NCAA stars workout with him during the off-season.
Today, Baker has grown his business tenfold, training about 20,000 players of different levels every year and in 43 different countries, including the Philippines. But it’s not just players that benefit from his training. Ganon has expanded his teaching chores also for fellow coaches by introducing a coaching certification program. Coaches all over the world can actually avail of this program online. He has also been a regular speaker in various coaching clinics like the NCAA Men’s Final Four, Coaching U Live, Nike USA clinics, FIBA clinics, AAU clinics, and HS association clinics.
Now 45 years old, Baker remains in tip-top shape as he works out just as hard as his trainees. He makes sure he gets enough physical exercise, stretching and cooling down on a regular basis. When he worked out with the Red Lions, Ganon made core exercises looked easy even when the newly crowned NCAA champions struggled doing the same exercises. But what is clearly most notable about him as a trainer is his passion in teaching. Very evident were his energy and intensity while teaching, apart from his vast knowledge of the game. This only shows that Ganon enjoys what he does, and finds great joy in seeing the instant improvements in his wards’ game. He has turned down several coaching offers in order to continue his amazing work on grassroots development.
The Hampton, Virginia native also played hoops not too long ago. He won a state title at Hampton High and took All State High School honor in Virginia before starting a college career at Duquesne and finishing at UNC Wilmington. He played as a pro overseas but shone brightest in Iceland, where he averaged 33 points in one season. But injuries hampered his playing career, forcing him to retire early at the age of 30. His last stint was with the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Summer League.