Colton, Gannon, Kaiden
These three Idaho friends live for sports. Here, they offer perspectives on the BAM Jam 3-on-3 basketball tournament and their sporty lifestyles.
When the Harlem Buckets stepped onto the basketball court this past spring, nervous energy hung in the air. But once the ball hit the pavement, the tension faded and the team focused on what they came to do: win some games.
The team was competing in BAM Jam Boise, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament held each spring and summer in the Treasure Valley. Hundreds of teams from around Idaho and surrounding states participate in what’s become one of the region’s most popular sporting events. Tournament games are quick, lasting until one team reaches 20 points or the clock hits 25 minutes, whichever comes first. Often, there’s not much time for rest between games.
For Idaho teens Kaiden, Colton, and Gannon (aka the Harlem Buckets), BAM Jam is a fun opportunity to spend more time on the court, size up the competition, and soak in the festive atmosphere.
“It’s a good way to get better,” says Colton. “Since you’re competing against other high school kids that you’ll end up playing with or against later, you get to develop team chemistry early on and do better in regular season games.”
Kaiden, a point guard, likes that the event is a learning experience. “You don’t get a 20-minute half and four quarters—four chances—like you do in a regular game,” he explains. “You just get one chance. You play your hardest or you get beat.”
“We did alright,” he recalls of their performance at the spring tournament. “We beat this one really good team but then we lost in the semifinals. But it was fun and that’s all that matters.”
The trio has been competing in BAM Jam together for a long time, with Colton and Gannon playing on a team since the third grade and Kaiden joining them a few years later.
Gannon, who typically plays point guard or shooting guard, laughs and recalls, “Colton and I would always be on a team that would meet up with Kaiden’s in the finals—and we’d take turns winning.”
The three became friends through school and other sports teams. They all play sports year-round for private clubs and the Kuna School District, a journey that started when they were in kindergarten learning to dribble with the YMCA and Hoop Dreams’ Little Dreamers leagues. Currently, the trio is playing two summer sports: traveling club basketball and Kuna High football.
“Practices right now are about 20 hours a week,” explains Kaiden. “We go from a two-hour football practice straight to a two-hour basketball practice, then home to sleep. We have games on weekends.”
The optional Kuna High summer football season is offered to help prepare students for the upcoming season. All three teens jumped at the chance to participate.
“We wanted to show the coaches that we have the skills to help the team,” says Kaiden. “The coach sees you’re willing to give up your summer and not just sit around and play video games.”
Sports have taught each of the teens valuable lessons in time management, communication, and self-confidence.“I have coaches who tell me to keep my confidence up, so that’s helped me build get better at shooting,” says Gannon. “Well, that and having to get all my rebounds when I miss!”
The positive reinforcement Colton gets from his teammates makes him a more self-assured player. “If I get the ball and don’t shoot it, they’ll chew me out,” he says. “But they’ll pass to me a few plays later so I can try to shoot again—and I usually make it. I like that teams are about peers holding you up.”
The three friends all envision a future playing college or professional ball and are intent on putting in the work to make it happen.
“I’m going to keep working hard, train, and play to my full potential,” says Gannon, who is pushing for a spot in the NBA.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for this talented trio at future BAM Jams and on other courts and fields around the Pacific Northwest!
The next BAM Jam will be held August 6-8 at Indian Creek in Caldwell, and the registration deadline is July 16. If you think your child would be interested in competing, visit bamjamboise.com to learn more. Saturday of the summer tournament features a special Slam Dunk and 3-Point Challenge.