It’s hard to say what Jayda Bing does more frequently—switch positions on the basketball court or switch address labels.
One thing is certain. She handles change well no matter what it concerns.
The versatile junior transferred from Monmouth High School to Steinert last year, as Hamilton Township became the latest of her many stops. As the daughter of a career Navy man, Bing was born in Mount Holly but lived in Pennsylvania. She then moved, in order, to Colts Neck, Virginia, Hamilton, back to Colts Neck and finally, back to Hamilton.
“I’ve traveled a lot,” she said. “I’m kind of used to switching schools and getting to know people. You make friends, work your way through school.”
Despite taking up residence in Hamilton for a second time, she knew few people at Steinert as her only other time spent in the township was during third grade when she went to the Lalor School. But thanks to her passion, Bing soon found buddies.
“When I first came here I didn’t really talk to anybody,” Bing said. “But then the basketball season came, and I just started making friends from there. My friends on the basketball team just became family. They became supportive with the whole move and everything.”
It would be hard not to like Bing as a teammate, since she can do pretty much anything on the court.
The prototypical stat-stuffer, Bing averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while collecting 27 assists and 24 steals at a freshman at Monmouth; which is where Colts Neck military base children attended.
When she arrived at Steinert, Coach Kristin Jacobs had a pleasant dilemma figuring out what to do with her new 5-foot-8 swingman.
“I didn’t really know where I was gonna put her,” Jacobs said. “She’s got that perfect, quintessential, solid basketball body. She’s got a little bit of size, a little bit of speed, she can shoot the ball and handle the ball. She can rebound and box out with the best of them. So she’s sort of that utility player right now for us that plays low defensively, like a point forward, where she can get the ball and immediately start our offense going forward.”
‘She works so hard every single day; always wants to make the extra pass, grab the rebound.’
Thus, she went from a small forward in rec ball, to a two guard at Monmouth, back to forward last year, to point guard this year (along with Leila Collazo). As a sophomore, Bing averaged 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds while collecting 56 assists and 51 steals. During Steinert’s 8-4 start this season, Bing was averaging 7.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals.
“I just go wherever my team needs me and do what’s best for my team,” Bing said. “I do a little here, a little there, and just work as hard as I can.”
Don’t take Bing’s word for it. Just ask a teammate.
“Jayda is a great player,” said Natalie Mehl, Steinert’s leading scorer. “She’s a great friend of mine. I love her to death. She works so hard every single day; always wants to make the extra pass, grab the rebound. She always wants to do the little things and I think it shows every single game. She’s a great player. I love playing with her.”
Although her 3-point accuracy has been improving, she has not become a player incessantly looking for her shot. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“She’s not thinking ‘I gotta score the basketball’ first,” Jacobs said. “She’s thinking ‘How do I help us score a basket?’ That comes first defensively, to the boxing out she does, the rebounding and getting things started. It’s nice to have her and Leila and their ability to run the show. Both of them can score too. Sometimes Leila gets her shot going, I give Jayda the ball, let her run the point; and vice versa.”
Bing was a latecomer to the sport, as she started on the sidelines as a cheerleader. During her first stay in Colts Neck, Jayda got a flyer in fourth grade concerning basketball tryouts.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I maybe I should try this,’ and let me tell you, I was not good when I started,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t know what a basketball was. I didn’t know how to play. It was really rough; but my coach was able to teach me the fundamentals and from there it’s just grown.”
Shortly after figuring out what a basketball was, Bing discovered AAU ball and began playing with the Hoop Group team down the shore. She is currently teammates with Collazo and Mehl, which has helped her gain some cohesion on the Spartans. It took a while, as she was learning a new system with new players.
“When I first came it was hard to adapt,” Bing said. “Monmouth was more like, ‘Let’s set things up, run the offense.’ But here we go back and forth, we’re running up and down the court. It was hard to adjust to that but I learned soon enough. I started to grow with them and create chemistry with every individual. It just all came together for me, and playing AAU with Leila and Nat, I was able to grow more with them too.”
Jacobs feels that Bing excels mostly at defensive rebounding and clearing space underneath, but quickly notes that she is good at everything.
“Every night I compliment her on something different, and she’s like, ‘I’m just doing what I do; whatever you need, Coach,’” Jacobs said. “That’s the type of attitude we really like. Very unselfish. She’s been hitting some jump shots lately, but I don’t know if it’s her first inkling to shoot.”
Bing said she picks her moments when to let it fly, saying, “Some games I’m not really feeling it, some games I’m feeling it. It’s here and there.”
And if anyone knows about being here and there, it’s the well-traveled Bing.