Chippewa Cree Baller Jaden Stanley, Bringing Game to Air Force Academy

Courtesy Lynette Stanley / Jaden Stanley knows how to balance books and basketball, as the 6-foot-5 guard who is headed to Air Force Academy holds a 3.92 GPA.

From Rocky Boy Rez to D-1 Hoops, Jaden Stanley is Flying High

Jaden Stanley is an unusually driven 17-year-old. This Chippewa-Cree basketball star and rez baller has got science on his mind and NBA shooting guard on his Facebook page as an occupation.

With such a work ethic, the NBA is a definite possibility for this high-achiever. The 6-foot-5 guard, who carries a 3.92 GPA at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, received a full scholarship to play basketball at the Air Force Academy next season.

He was raised on the Rocky Boy Reservation, but in order to take his game to the next level, he chose to leave Montana, and the rez behind for the suburbs of Atlanta.

Stanley shared his story in a phone interview with ICTMN:

Courtesy Lynette Stanley / Stanley has one season left at Discovery High School, where he hopes to lead his team to a state title.

You grew up on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. What was that like?

It was definitely different from the city. I grew up around my grandparents. My mom was always there. I was raised in a very big family environment. I’m just really grateful. They really taught me about my Native American culture and where I came from.

What do you know about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest?

I try to keep tabs on that. I think it’s terrible what corporate America’s trying to do to sacred Native lands.

Courtesy Titans Basketball / Stanley chose the Air Force Academy because the recruiting staff followed through. “Everything they said they’d do they did,” he says.

What made you want to go down to Atlanta?

My mom always told me she would try to give me the best opportunity she can. I saw that Atlanta was more of a thriving basketball place than Montana. I knew I’d put in the work, and I wanted a better opportunity for education. So we made the move.

What do your teammates think about your Native ancestry?

People are really surprised and unknowing. Down here, Native Americans aren’t really heard of. They ask a lot of questions. Some can be intellectual, some can be really dumb. I answer them, gladly, because I’m glad to enlighten people on my culture because it’s something I’m proud to talk about.

The Air Force? When did that all happen?

The Air Force Academy started recruiting me in the beginning of the summer. They just kind of followed me throughout my basketball and AAU season. I kind of was out my summer season and they stuck with me. They were loyal. Everything they said they’d do they did. They told me I had a full ride scholarship and I took it.

You’re starting your senior season. What do you hope to accomplish?

Education: I just want to be in the top 15 of my class. I want to maintain a 4.0. In basketball, I want to lead my team to a state championship and put my school on the map.

Stanley is a high flyer who has dreams of reaching the NBA or having a career in science. Courtesy Lynette Stanley

What does it feel like to represent a tribe away from your reservation?

It makes me happy to know that I’m doing something this big. I’m making a difference. My dream, my hope… Growing up on the rez, I see kids that can have the brightest futures and they don’t have the opportunities. I want Native kids to say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it too.; It doesn’t matter where you come from, as long as you dedicate yourself to it, you can do it. I want to make my people proud.

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