Calipari Impressed Jayden Quaintance and His Father


Five-star center Jayden Quaintance is a top 10 player nationally but that has not been a surprise for his father, Haminn Quaintance.

“I always knew my son would be a very good basketball player,” said Haminn, a former college and professional basketball player. “I started working with him when he was about 7 years old, or maybe younger.

“This is not all about how good you are. How do you pick things up? How is your work ethic, self discipline? A lot of things determine how good you will be. At a young age not everybody wants to do it. If it was just me pushing him to play basketball, it would not matter but he wanted to do it and that’s why he got better.”

The 6-10, 250-pound Quaintance signed with Kentucky last month. He’s only 16 years old and will not be eligible for the NBA draft until after graduates from Word of God Christian Academy (N.C.) in the spring.

Picking Kentucky was not a hard choice for Jayden Quaintance.

“It was the Big Blue Nation and all that good stuff,” Haminn said. “There is a huge spotlight that comes with being at Kentucky when you are doing well. But more than anything it was the coaching staff. You have to believe in the coaching staff. We also know we have got to do our work and if we do that then the coaches are going to put us in the best situation. They know what needs to be done.”

Haminn played two years at Jacksonville State and two years at Kent State. He started 104 games in four years, including 35 in 2007-08 at Kent State. He was a 54.5 percent (1,048 of 1,922) shooter from the field and averaged 11.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.8 steals per game during his career.

“I played against Duke (2010) and North Carolina (2009) the year they both won a national championship,” Haminn, who went on to play professionally overseas, said. “I was pretty athletic I think and played basketball for a long time. Jayden is a little bigger than me but I was top 10 in the country in blocks one year.

“The athleticism is there. Obviously I was athletic and I think some of that passed down to him. But I was 6-7, maybe 6-8 about 210 pounds as a college senior. He is a 16-year-old high school senior weighing around 250 without really lifting weights. There’s no fat on him. He’s actually a slim 250.”

Haminn played often against his young son and “never took it easy” on him.

“I took him to play with college guys when he was 11 or 12. He always did better than I expected against older guys,” Haminn said. “People adapt to the environments you put them in. I put him in national ball when he was 13. He played against a bunch of top players in the country. Iron sharpens iron if it is already iron. I thought he would be okay and it would make him stronger going against older, better players.”

Quaintance helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2023 FIBA Americas Championship when he averaged 6.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 18.7 minutes per game.

“He has always played against good players and with good players. You get used to playing different spots. Now he has to get better when he is off the ball. He has always guarded the ball. He can switch on guards. That’s the easy part,” Haminn Quaintance said. “The hard part is being in the right places when you are not guarding the ball. He can guard but I’ve got to get him ready for college.

“I want him to keep playing, be sharp, be aggressive, play hard and put in the work and everything will take care of itself. I am trying to get him to play the passing lanes more and get some steals. Get him to meet the ball better and rebound. Just doing stuff to translate to college and make him a better player.”