Baker “Steals” the Show On and Off the Court

NEW YORK, July 24, 2006 -- The young campers participating in the 2006 New York Liberty Basketball Camp, presented by Snapple Iced Tea, at Basketball City, have learned a lot over the last few days about the fundamentals of the game. This week, they received a visit from Liberty newcomer, Sherill Baker, and had a chance to learn another very valuable lesson. Sherill spoke to the group of over 80 youngsters, ages 8-17, about what it takes to be successful both on and off the court.

Although to most, Sherill may seem reserved and maybe a little shy, to these future basketball stars her presence was larger than life. Angelina, a 13-year old camper, described her first up close and personal experience with one of her favorite players as, “cool” she said, “getting the chance to actually meet someone who made it to the WNBA and plays for the Liberty is unreal!”

When Sherill first arrived at Basketball City she asked the girls to tell her what they have learned so far at camp. Most spoke up mentioning things like defense and shooting techniques, but that since she was there they thought the lesson would turn to defense. On the court Sherill is known for being a quick-handed scrappy defensive player, but yesterday was about something a little different. Something that would help the kids to succeed at anything they set their minds to when it comes to sports and life. The topic of yesterday’s visit was confidence and determination.

Through the demonstration of proper free-throw shooting techniques, Sherill introduced a game called “Gotcha”, which is a competitive free-throw shooting drill. Although an extremely exciting and fun game, it takes a great deal of concentration and focus under tense circumstances. Baker, an 86% free-throw shooter, explained to the campers that she has had success from the line because of the confidence she gained through relaxation techniques and constant practice. She also learned the importance of focusing on the task at hand and blocking out surrounding distractions. Lessons she uses during a game and in her everyday life.

“At first I just wanted to win, so I’d just jack-up a free-throw when it was my turn, ”said Jasmine a 16 year old camper, “but once she told us that taking our time and focusing on our technique was a much better way to go, I won!”

After the game, Sherill reminded the kids that there is a lesson to be learned through anything they do on the court. Without concentration and a belief in your shot, you cannot become a successful free-throw shooter. The same is true with anything they set their minds to. No matter what they face, they can have success as long as they believe they can. “Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something, especially if it is something you really want. Instead, work even harder at getting it,” explained Sherill.

Even as a rookie, it turns out that Sherill has made a huge impression with her fans. One young camper, Emily, 13, said, “It’s great to have people like Sherill come to camp because it give us a chance to see them in person and learn something. For her to come and shoot with us and just laugh and talk means a lot.”

The kids were not the only ones to walk out of that gym having learned a lesson.

When asked of her experience with the campers, Sherill could not help but be a little surprised. She said, “I never realized how easy it is to connect with the kids. For me, I learned the fundamentals of the game from playing with the older guys, but now it’s great to be the one passing on what I know through something as fun and easy as basketball.”

Earlier this summer Liberty players Cathrine Kraayeveld and Loree Moore paid a visit to the campers participating in the session at REBOUNDS in Neptune, NJ and Ashley Battle will be making an appearance later on in the week at Basketball City.

This camp session is running through July 28 at Basketball City and the third and final session will be held at Hoop Heaven in Whippany, NJ from July 31 through August 4. For information about the upcoming session please visit, http://www.wnba.com/liberty/news/Camp2006.html.