Young athlete has big dreams
Photos by Lisa Bicknell
Eleven year-old Jayden Bingham, pictured above with his father Jay, will be playing in the AAU Nationals next weekend.
By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
Not many 11 year-olds can say they don’t eat fast food or drink caffeine, haven’t been to McDonald’s in years, and work out on a regular basis, but that’s how serious Jayden Bingham is about his game.
Jayden has loved playing basketball since he could barely walk. When he was “five or six,” he joined an Estill County youth league, and, at a time when many kids are still learning how to dribble, Jayden stood out as a natural talent.
In the third grade, Jayden typically led his youth league teams in scoring with 30 to 35 points.
Since then, Jayden’s dad, Jay Bingham, has devoted himself to helping develop his young son’s gift. Jay calls it a “God-given talent,” not one that he inherited from him.
“He’s way better than I was at that age,” said Jay.
Jayden played with the KBA for a while, which is a Kentucky-based travel league, but he was soon invited to join the AAU circuit to play ball all over the eastern United States.
At the AAU level, small colleges begin to show up at games to watch developing players. The competition is stiffer at this level, but Jayden is still scoring 20 to 30 points a game, his father says.
Jayden’s team recently won a tournament in Tennessee without losing a game. That victory qualified them to play in a national AAU tournament in Indianapolis, IN, “where the Indiana Pacers play.” The tournament lasts from July 13th through the 15th.
Jayden has already drawn the attention of some big names in basketball who’ve seen him play in Youtube videos. One of those is Tyler Herro, recent Kentucky Wildcat recruit from Wisconsin, who contacted him and encouraged him to keep chasing his dream.
Jay said that Dominique Hawkins, former KY basketball star, told Jayden he’d better go to Madison Central to play when he gets to the high school level.
Jayden attends Kingston Elementary now, where as a 4th grader, he was the starting point guard for a 6th grade middle school team. His dad says he leads the team in points, assists, and other statistics.
He’s a great student too, never bringing home anything less than an A on his report card.
With a room already overflowing with trophies, Jayden’s got goals for adding to his collection.
One of these days, he hope to play for a Division 1 team, and he dreams of eventually playing professional basketball, “even if it’s overseas.”
Jay says Jayden’s mother, Malissa, is equally dedicated to helping their son succeed.
He married his high school sweetheart, and the two also have a three year old daughter, Karmen, and a five year old son, Luke.
Jayden plays extra hard for his deceased “Poppy” (Rob Riddell) and great-grandfather Travis.
Sondra Chaney is Jayden’s paternal grandmother, and his great grandparents are Jerry and Sue Chaney.
Ailene Frymyer is maternal grandmother.
Jay also gives credit to coaches Woody Arvin, Danny Click, Skip Johnson, Brian Crowe, and Chris Winkler for helping develop Jayden’s talent and his own coaching style.