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Photo courtesy of Kaden Gumbs

Gumbs competes at 11th annual Basketball Without Borders camp

San Marcos Boys' Basketball
Friday, May 27, 2022

May 2022 has been the best month of Kaden Gumbs’ life.

Not only did the San Marcos three-star senior point guard commit to his hometown university of Texas State, but he also was selected by the Virgin Islands Basketball Federation to represent the Islands in the NBA and FIBA’s 11th annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camp. The annual camp has met since 2001, with the NBA and FIBA bringing top-level coaching and experience to prospects of international descent.

Gumbs participated in the Americas section of BWB, competing against talent from countries and islands in the Northwest and Southwest American hemispheres. This year’s Americas section was held in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, at La Loma Centro Deportivo, the home of NBA Academy Latin America. Gumbs was selected as the first pick in BWB’s draft and he helped his team to claim the camp’s championship.

“The way I found out (I was invited) was my dad actually told me about it,” Gumbs said. “I didn’t know anything about it. He was like, ‘You’re going to Mexico.’ And I was like, ‘For what?’ And he was like, ‘You have a camp, and it’s a week long.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go to that camp.’ But then he told me about it, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I definitely want to go.’ 

“The experience for me was really good. I had to adapt for that whole week. So when I came back here, it was kind of weird because I was in Mexico, you know, eating different food (and) around different people. But it was a good experience.”

Gumbs absorbed all he could when he had the opportunity to interact and learn from players and coaches with NBA experience, specifically taking in a lot of knowledge from Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte.

“I learned how to play with better pace,” Gumbs said. “Like I knew what pace was, but (now) I (really) understand pace. Like, (Duarte) taught me just to slow the game down, not everything is fast speed. I just learned how to slow down. And (Duarte) taught me better footwork, (and a) better release on my shot. I gotta be faster (with my release) because when I get to college, they will have bigger and taller defenders.”

The camp was held from May 16-19, the subsequent week after Gumbs committed to Texas State on May 11.

The combination of Gumbs’ commitment and getting invited to and participating in an event as prestigious as Basketball Without Borders made the two-week stretch of May 9-20 a memorable one for Gumbs.

“It was amazing,” Gumbs said. “That was the best two weeks of my life. Committing to Texas State was a big thing. The whole community heard about it — (and) funny story, I went to Sewell (Park) and everybody (there) knew about it, so it was good for me.”

San Marcos head coach Dan Miller has been a head basketball coach for over a decade, including stops at Seven Lakes High School and LeTourneau University, building both programs into contenders in their respective conferences and districts. Miller has seen a lot — but one thing he’s never experienced is having a player invited to BWB. 

“I’m very happy for Kaden because it’s such a great honor,” Miller said. “No one would be more deserving than Kaden for how hard he works to represent the Virgin Islands and to represent San Marcos (and) represent our Rattlers. He’s the perfect guy to go down there and do it and I’m very excited for him to have such a cool experience. I think it was great for Kaden to play with people from 17 different countries and just be able to go in there (without) knowing anybody. That’s a real good life experience and Kaden excelled in it. So I think it gives him more confidence as a point guard. 

“Any time you can gain experiences that help with your confidence, your leadership and being in different or new situations helps, and this was definitely that. And then I also liked that he had some very good competition there. It’s always good. He plays both, you know, EYBL, high school basketball and now (BWB) gets him playing against some of the best players (out there).”

Gumbs will head into the summer with his college decision made and with the knowledge he gained from BWB, focusing solely on a summer full of basketball in the gym. Gumbs will compete with fellow Rattler and four-star senior forward Malik Presley on John Lucas’s Nike EYBL team based out of Houston, JL3 Elite, throughout the summer leading up to the league’s annual Peach Jam.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666