Baskin’ in the glory | SteamboatToday.com

Baskin’ in the glory

Former Sailor named to elite team

Melinda Mawdsley

It wasn’t enough for Jon Baskin to be strong in the low post.

“He just dominated the scene when he was here,” Steamboat Springs boys basketball coach Kelly Meek said.

Baskin, a 1986 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, recently was named the top center to play for a Colorado college or university during the past 20 years.

Sam Adams, columnist at the Rocky Mountain News accepted nominations for his 20-year, all-Colorado men’s college basketball team in late February, and Baskin, who spent three years at Mesa State, was voted by the newspaper’s readers as the premier post player of his time.

The 6-foot-8 Baskin beat out a pair of centers from the University of Colorado in Shaun Vandiver and David Harrison, as well as former University of Denver player Alex Sund.

Baskin averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds during his senior season at Mesa State and left as the college’s all-time leading scorer.

Recommended Stories For You

He was inducted into Mesa State’s Hall of Fame three years ago.

Baskin is the Sailors’ all-time leading scorer, as well, after averaging 28 points and 14 rebounds per game during his senior year. Both were tops in Colorado regardless of school classification.

Wednesday morning, Baskin, 35, sat in Meek’s office exchanging coaching stories and remembering the mid-1980s, when the Western Slope was chock-full of collegiate talent and classic matchups.

“Even the bad teams had size,” Baskin said.

Baskin is in his second year as head coach at Westminster, a 4A school near Denver. This season, Baskin led the Warriors to a 21-4 season and a second-place finish in the Skyline League behind eventual state champion Broomfield. Westminster was one of two teams to defeat Broomfield during the season.

“As far as coaching, I gave up a six-figure income to coach, but I have no regrets,” Baskin said.

All the competitiveness Baskin brought with him to basketball games as a player in Steamboat or at Mesa State in Grand Junction hasn’t subsided much as a coach. He loses sleep over losses and grows frustrated on the sidelines, but Baskin is seeing parts of Meek emerge in the way he coaches.

“Inevitably, it’s going to rub off,” Baskin said. “From a coaching standpoint, there are still things I have to learn. (Coach Meek) is a guy who everyone would die for.”

Baskin moved to Steamboat in 1983 from Summit County because he wanted to win and opted to become a Sailor rather than try his luck as a Demon in Glenwood Springs.

At the first team camp Baskin attended, he played 15 seconds before Meek yanked him and sat him on the bench. Meek always has been a firm believer in playing hard on every possession, particularly on defense, and Baskin had no interest in defense as a young sophomore, Meek said.

Meek, who has an uncanny ability to remember details about seemingly every game and player he’s coached, distinctly remembers when Baskin joined the program as a sophomore.

“He had possibilities,” Meek said. “He had to overcome himself. He would beat himself up, but he grew up. … He competed hard on every possession. He had to dominate. He couldn’t stand not to dominate.”

“I still struggle with that,” Baskin added. “I’m ultra-competitive when it comes to basketball.”

Baskin went to earn all-league accolades for three years at Steamboat and signed with San Diego State University. He played there one season before transferring to Mesa State where he became a three-time all-NAIA District VII player of the year.

Joining Baskin on the News’ 20-year, all-Colorado men’s team was CU guard Chauncey Billups, the leading vote-getter, as well as Western State guard Wil Pierce, Western State forward Steve Fendry and Colorado State forward Pat Durham.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com