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'I want to be like Jake'


Jake Mount a good role model for more than basketball

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego resident Jake Mount set up a basketball camp for youth players.Little kids who love basketball have a friend in Jake Mount.

At age 13, Jake is no elder statesman himself. But he is just old enough to teach kids from the ages of 4 to 10 who have hoop dreams, and he has been doing it for the past two summers.

This year, though, his Fundamentals Basketball Camp at Hallinan Elementary School will be bigger and better than ever. That means twice as many camps and over twice as many campers.

“Jake told me, ‘Mom, I want to do my camp again, and I want to step it up,’” said Barbara Mount, Jake’s mother. “Moms are calling me and asking, ‘Is Jake running his camp again?’”

In fact, Jake already earning is a huge reputation as a camp instructor.

“One mom put her son in a lot of camps last year,” Barbara said. “She asked him what camp he liked best, and he said, ‘Jake Mount’s basketball camp. I want to be like Jake. You can’t believe how nice he is.’”

Jake became a basketball lover at an early age. When he was only 5 years old, his dad, Scott, guided him into playing many sports, and for a while soccer was a candidate to become his favorite. But basketball won out. The shift started when he started playing in the Upwards Basketball League, a church-based league, and “I learned to love basketball.”

He was also good at basketball. In the sixth grade, he tried out for the local traveling team of the Three Rivers League and made the A squad. With Jake on the roster, the team has traveled all around the Portland metro area and achieved a lot of success.

Jake also found that he really liked teaching younger kids to play basketball after playing with his 9-year-old neighborhood pal, Roman Siger.

“I had so much fun playing basketball with Roman,” Jake said. “I told my mom I wanted to have a camp.”

The first Jake Mount camp drew eight campers and, thanks to excellent word of mouth, had 12 campers last year. All of them got excellent instruction from Jake and his coaching staff made up of his neighborhood buddies.

“It’s cute to see these little kids look up to the older boys,” Barbara said.

Besides Jake himself, there is another good reason for kids to sign up for his basketball camp. It’s cheap, just $25 per camper. There is also the incentive of getting to play at the playground after camp is over.

Furthermore, 100 percent of what Jake earns will go to the Children’s Cancer Association.

Therein lies a great story. Jake is doing the camp in memory of his best friend, Gage Dole, who died of cancer three years ago at just 9 years of age. Gage was a courageous little guy who attracted many friends and lots of media attention during his fight against the dreaded disease. When Gage was well enough, he and Jake would play basketball and swim together. When Gage wasn’t well enough, Jake would visit him in his home, and the two boys would watch “Hogan’s Heroes,” the sitcom classic from the 1960s, on Gage’s portable DVD player and eat lots of Halloween candy.

“Gage was an amazing illustrator,” Barbara Mount said, and he would draw pictures of the “all-stars” in his neighborhood. He gave them all superhero nicknames, and for Jake he gave the name “The Protector.”

Jake is dreaming the biggest dreams for a career in basketball. He wants to play varsity hoops at Lakeridge High School, go to a college with an excellent college basketball program, play in the NBA and finally become a sports journalist on ESPN.

For this summer, though, he will be teaching boys and girls how to shoot, dribble, pass and pivot, and raising money to help kids fight their battle against cancer. They will all probably want to be like Jake.

The Fundamentals Basketball Camp will be held the weeks of Aug. 4 to 8 and Aug. 18 to 22. To register, go to the website fundamentalsbasketballcamp.com.