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Miles Banks: D1 Basketball Player to MMA Prospect

Miles Banks: D1 Basketball Player to MMA Prospect

Mandatory credit: Mark Ray

Toughness and physicality are two attributes that are central to basketball. Players in the “five” position have to be strategic in attack and play a brave defense. The same traits apply to a mixed artist.

Miles Banks has always had a trickster mentality. Growing up in Queens, he lived his life at a fast pace. New York City, a crowded and multicultural country, helped him grow into a pioneer.

“We live a crazy life, even the most ordinary person probably lives a very crazy life from New York because of the things they are exposed to every day,” Banks said. “It’s not like anywhere else, anything can happen anywhere.”

Determined to find an opportunity for success, Banks turned to basketball. Joining Martin Van Buren’s high school team, he began playing in the center. After playing basketball for only one year, Banks became a top-tier player. The opportunity allowed him to get an education, travel to different places and build new relationships.

Banks (#22) competed for Kilgore College from 13 to 15. His height is listed at 6’8. According to the NCAA, 3.5% of men’s basketball players transition from high school to college ranks. Only 1.2% play in the NBA.

Miles Banks has found a new passion

Although he loved playing, Banks decided that basketball was not the end of the game. He wanted to become successful but not at the cost of being someone he wasn’t.

“I’ve enjoyed basketball but the politics behind it, the people you have to deal with, and then the way people try to manipulate you and manipulate you to be what they want you to be, and if I can’t be me, in whatever situation I don’t want to be in.”

Banks’ basketball class ended after college. Now, it was time to find a new path and Banks was bent on making it into the world.

In 2018, his brother suggested joining an MMA class. It turned out to be a game changer.

Banks began training Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. New to the mixed martial arts scene but growing up in Queens, he’s always had a fighting state of mind.

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“When I first got into MMA, it wasn’t for the money. I love to fight and I grew up fighting,” Banks said. “It wasn’t necessarily a career thing for me, but then I realized I was pretty good at it. It could have been an opportunity to do some good things so I took advantage of it.”

In the blink of an eye, the banks started to compete. He got a few Muay Thai fights under his belt and then moved on to MMA. Banks decided to move to Houston, Texas, and join the War Training Center, a local gym that trains the next generation of fighters.

The War Training Center is located in Tomball, Texas. Many fighters train in the MMA gym under the guidance of coaches Jeremy Mahon and Richard Copley.

WAR Training Center owner Jeremy Mahon has trained many athletes throughout his coaching career. He’s noticed that athletes, like Banks, use their playing experience as an advantage.

“Athletes who transfer from another sport are often able to take things from their previous sport and apply them to MMA. Some examples are, baseball players have great eye-hand coordination, basketball players usually have good movement and body awareness, and soccer players The foot comes with eye-foot coordination and accuracy in kicking a moving target. Many of these things have been developed over the years, so naturally they are advanced in certain areas.”

Switching from one sport to another can be difficult. The transition can be frustrating, but depending on how the two sports overlap, a competitor can transition their sport to a new hobby.

Banks’ teammate James Ford understands the change process. The Cincinnati native is a former D1 college wrestler turned mixed martial artist. He attended Purdue University and later transferred to Ohio State University. Since his debut in MMA, Ford has used the mentality he gained as a college player and believes Ford has done the same.

“When you’re at the top of your sport, you pick up things along the way that help you get to that level,” Ford said. “I think what has been translated mostly [for Banks] It is the work ethic…People who are good at something are able to control their athletic performance. “

Banks working with fellow WWII training center James Ford

Coach Mahon has seen improvements from Banks since he started on WAR. The two main factors are his IQ and cage work.

“I think a lot of what made Miles a good basketball player are the same things that make him a great fighter. God has endowed abilities, like his size is obviously one of them… Miles has a great awareness of his body and a sense of balance on his feet and in the air and I’m sure that ball Basketball contributed to it.”

Banks had early success in MMA. In January, he made his heavyweight debut for Fury FC, throwing a right-hand header for a first-round knockout win. Banks kept the momentum going. His next three fights were also KO victories. He became the Fury Amateur Heavyweight Champion and was undefeated.

“Being a big guy in the position, your movements are everything. Lateral movements and defense are highly transferable but also attention to detail and understanding how to read body language and things like that,” Banks said. “These are intangible skills you can’t touch, you can’t Seeing it, you can’t feel it.”

Whether it’s rebounding on the court or throwing punches in the octagon, Banks has worked to compete at the highest level. His goal is to become a professional and fight the best in the world. Each practice round is a step closer to his dream of fighting on the biggest stage in MMA.

“I want to be the greatest weightlifter that I can be. I see no reason why I couldn’t be one of the greatest weightlifters who ever lived and fought in the sport.”


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