High intense warm-up, active bench players and great ball movement is what you’ll find in a Juco tournament, at least the ones hosted by Baylor Youth. Pass Tha Ball had the pleasure of covering Toi Baylor’s first Juco Jamboree in Chicago, Ill.
This tournament was many of the teams first game of the season, so the fresh in freshman was present. But when you have players like 6’3 Alexandrine Obuh Fegue dominating the paint, it gets a little tricky when trying to distinguish the freshman from the sophomores. Chipola College dominated with their knockdown roster: sophomore Raven Baker-Northcross, and Canada natives Danielle Garven and Barbara Johnson. Their chemistry flowed effortlessly even when welcoming in Baylor Youth alumni Naomi House onto the court. While Chipola had the reigns of the tournament in their palms, Jaida Carson and Dabriona Williams of Sauk Valley feared no one. Quick cuts to the basket and banking free throws when it matters sets them apart from good and great.
Other contenders like Southwestern and Highland CC weren’t quite as strong as Chipola and Sauk Valley, but that didn’t stop them from giving a show. Two of the games at the Chicago Women’s Juco Jamboree went into sudden death overtime, making the ladies kick in their dog-eat-dog mentalities. Eriayana Frazier, Julanie Carter and Chelsi Sams obviously had their butts in the gym at the rate they were shooting. Carter of Southwestern stood out the most to me though, not the quickest, not the flashiest but she had confidence. Crossovers, and half-court shots don’t make a player stand out, it’s the free throws that’ll break the tie, it’s the made layups when two defenders are on you. That’s what Carter showed me. Get the job done without cracking under pressure and leave your ego on the bench.
Every player and coach got to experience the infamous Baylor Youth hospitality: free dinner, college exposure and fierce competition.