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Posted On: 06/14/18 11:21 PM
From London to to Utah, Juan Diego power forward Kemari Bailey has been on quite the journey the past 18 months.
The London native moved from Great Britain — where he played on the U15 National Team — to Utah last year, and has been living with a host family and playing for the Soaring Eagles ever since.
A 6-foot-5 defense-first prospect, Bailey defined his skill-set in his own words to PHUT during a recent phone interview.
“I’m good at changing shots defensively, shot-blocking. And also taking charges, defense is my number one goal out there,” said Bailey.
“I’ve been taught to focus on the defense and offense will come later.”
He explained why it was he decided to come to the United States from England.
“I wanted to get a little bit more exposure than I would have with European basketball. And I always to play in United States, since I was young,” said Bailey.
As a sophomore with Juan Diego, Bailey played well. He started some games, and made his presence felt on the defensive end. Next season he’s looking to be a leader.
“I thought I could have done more, but I was just starting to get into the program. My defense was good, and it was very fun,” said Bailey.
“My role next season will be to help out the team, an on and off the court kind of guy, a captain.”
In the meantime, he’ll be playing with one of the area’s best AAU teams, Exum Elite 16U.
“Playing with Exum is amazing, they have great coaches and players. And I’ve been playing against really amazing athletes, guys that have offers from D1 schools,” said Bailey, who is looking to garner some D1 attention of his own this summer.
“In July, I’m looking forward to football and basketball camps. And will be working on my defense and my dribbling, and I’ll be working on my range, too.”
He takes football serious, but he more or less uses it to stay in shape for basketball. It’s hoops that he wants to pursue at the next level.
Bailey has some college interest for hoops so far.
“My dad (in England) has heard from some colleges,” said Bailey. “But I’m just focused on getting better this summer.”