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Ron Baker (basketball)

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Ron Baker
Ron Baker (32640217835).jpg
Baker with the Knicks in 2017
Free agent
PositionShooting guard / Point guard
Personal information
Born (1993-03-30) March 30, 1993 (age 25)
Hays, Kansas
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High schoolScott City (Scott City, Kansas)
CollegeWichita State (2012–2016)
NBA draft2016 / Undrafted
Playing career2016–present
Career history
20162018New York Knicks
2016–2017Westchester Knicks
2018–2019Washington Wizards
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Ronald Delaine Baker (born March 30, 1993)[1] is an American professional basketball player. He played college basketball for Wichita State.

Early life

Born in Hays, Kansas, Baker spent his early childhood in the tiny farming town of Utica, Kansas, growing up with one sister and one brother. In a 2014 interview, he recalled, "I have memories of when was I very, very little, holding a basketball in my dog's doghouse when I was about 1." His father noted that he eventually gravitated toward basketball for practical reasons: "It was easier to haul him around and easier to get five or six to play basketball than to play baseball, where you'd need 12 to 14."[2]

High school career

While he developed into a star at Scott Community High, and dreamed of playing for the state's premier college program at Kansas, he was slow to grow into his body; by the end of his junior year, he was only 6 feet (1.83 m) tall, and had drawn interest from only two Division I programs: Arkansas–Little Rock and South Dakota State.[2] However, he grew to 6-3 (1.91 m) during the summer between his junior and senior seasons.[2]

In his senior year, Baker helped the team finish with a 25–1 record. In return, he was named 3A First-Team All-State in Kansas. The peak of his high school basketball career was when he hit a game winning put-back buzzer beater against Minneapolis High School to win the Class 3A state basketball championship, finishing the game with 26 points and 9 rebounds. As a result, Baker helped the school win its first ever Class 3A Championship, although the school had made two different appearances in the past.[3]

Nonetheless, Baker remained little-known among Division I coaches. ESPN.com writer Eamonn Brennan noted in 2014,[4]

ESPN's RecruitingNation maintains detailed scouting reports on hundreds of the best high school basketball players in the country. . . . Ron Baker's profile read as follows:

"Will walk-on at Wichita State in 2011–12 and spend a redshirt year. Expected to be on scholarship starting in 2012–13."

And that was it. Next to Baker's name was "NR," which stands for "Not Ranked." The same abbreviation sits next to secondary lists for "position," "regional" and "state." Baker — who requested a redshirt year when he committed, as a walk-on, to Wichita State in April 2011 — couldn't have been more off the recruiting radar.

After his senior season, Kansas invited him to visit the campus. Baker had thoughts about walking on there, but the invitation occurred during the middle of his high school baseball season. Baker's father recalled that Ron felt that his basketball game was rusty, and that "he didn't want to embarrass himself" in a potential scrimmage.[2]

College career

Baker as a redshirt freshman for the 2012–13 Wichita State Shockers (left) and 4th-year junior for the 2014–15 team (right)

Baker chose to play for the Wichita State Shockers after also having interest in Arkansas–Little Rock, Eastern Illinois, and South Dakota State.[5] Rather than playing in his first season with the Shockers, Baker had the entire year redshirted after a reluctant approval from head coach Gregg Marshall.

In his first season, Baker emerged as one of the elite free-throw shooters on Wichita State. He finished the season shooting for a free-throw percentage of .822, the highest for a qualified player on the team. Baker did not prove himself to be an efficient scorer and played just eighteen games in the entire season due to a stress fracture in his left foot.[6] He eventually played a major role when the Shockers made an unanticipated run into the semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Baker shot 40 percent from the field, 42.9 percent on three-pointers, most notably scoring 16 points in a huge win over No. 1 Gonzaga (tied for team-high). He earned no major awards by the time the season came to a close.

Entering the 2013–14 NCAA Division I men's basketball season, Baker became known as one of the MVC's premier shooters. He, Cleanthony Early, and Fred VanVleet led the team in scoring and had a major influence on Wichita State's season, which saw the Shockers become the first NCAA Division I men's team to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated in over 20 years. Baker was named to the 2014 MVC All-Conference First Team and the CBE Hall of Fame Classic's Most Valuable Player after finishing his first season with a double-digit scoring average. After the Shockers' season ended in the NCAA tournament at the hands of Kentucky and its highly touted freshman class, Baker indicated that one of the Wildcats' top recruits, Aaron Harrison, told him, "You are a bad, bad, bad boy."[4]

He was a part of three Missouri Valley Conference championships (2013, 2014, 2015), nine NCAA Tournament wins, two trips to the Sweet 16 (2013, 2015) and a trip to the 2013 Final Four. As a senior in 2015–16, he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.51 steals over 31.6 minutes in 35 games. His postseason honors included: John R. Wooden Second Team All-American; USA Today Second Team All-American and 2015 finalist for Jerry West Award. Baker also represented the United States at the 2015 Pan American games, where he started all five games and won a bronze medal.[7]

Professional career

New York Knicks (2016–2018)

After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, Baker joined the New York Knicks for the 2016 NBA Summer League.[8] Despite a scattered Summer League campaign,[9] Baker signed with the Knicks on August 1, 2016,[10] and secured an opening-night roster spot.[9] He made his debut for the Knicks in their season opener on October 25, 2016, recording five points and one rebound in seven minutes off the bench in a 117–88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.[11] On December 15, 2016, he scored a season-high 13 points in a 103–90 loss to the Golden State Warriors.[12] On January 16, 2017, he made his first career start for the Knicks and subsequently scored 12 points in a 108–107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.[12] During his rookie and sophomore seasons, he was assigned multiple times to New York's D-League/G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.[13][14]

On August 7, 2017, Baker re-signed with the Knicks.[15] Baker missed the Knicks' game on January 2, 2018 against the San Antonio Spurs because of a broken left orbital bone sustained when he was hit in the face trying to stop Anthony Davis' drive to the basket in New York's victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 30.[16] On February 5, 2018, he was ruled out for the rest of the season after it was determined he required right shoulder surgery.[17] Baker was waived by the Knicks on December 13, 2018.[18]

Washington Wizards (2018–2019)

On December 20, 2018, Baker signed with the Washington Wizards.[19] He was waived on January 7, 2019 after appearing in four games.

National team career

Baker represented the United States national team at the 2015 Pan American Games, where he won a bronze medal.

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 New York 52 13 16.5 .378 .267 .651 1.9 2.1 .7 .2 4.1
2017–18 New York 29 1 13.3 .339 .333 .769 1.0 1.6 .9 .2 2.4
2018–19 New York 11 0 9.7 .250 .111 .833 .6 1.2 .5 .0 1.3
2018–19 Washington 4 0 11.3 .000 .000 1.0 .5 .3 .3 .0
Career 96 14 14.5 .358 .265 .707 1.4 1.8 .7 .2 3.1

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012–13 Wichita State 18 15 26.1 .398 .357 .822 3.2 1.8 .8 .3 8.7
2013–14 Wichita State 36 36 29.9 .456 .380 .842 3.8 3.1 1.4 .6 13.1
2014–15 Wichita State 35 35 32.7 .433 .383 .758 4.5 2.5 1.3 .8 14.7
2015–16 Wichita State 35 35 31.6 .424 .350 .793 4.8 3.2 1.5 .6 14.0
Career 124 121 30.6 .433 .369 .801 4.2 2.8 1.3 .6 13.2

Personal life

Following the 2015–16 season, Baker was contacted by the owner of a small publishing house in El Dorado, Kansas, who wanted him to write a children's book. The final product, You're Too Big to Dream Small, is an illustrated book with rhyming text written primarily by Baker himself and based closely on his life. It was released on August 3, 2016, and Baker personally signed the first print run of 6,000 copies.[20]

Baker is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.[21]

References

  1. ^ Ron Baker Bio
  2. ^ a b c d Gregorian, Vahe (March 22, 2014). "Ron Baker embodies spirit of Wichita State's second March in the national spotlight". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ Haxton, Rod (March 13, 2011). "Baker hits game winner for 3A state title". ScottyCountyRecord.com. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Brennan, Eamonn (August 27, 2014). "The art of talent evaluation". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Ron Baker – Rivals.com". Rivals.com. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "MBB: Ron Baker Diagnosed with Stress Fracture". GoShockers.com. December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  7. ^ Suellentrop, Paul (July 26, 2016). "Wichita State's Ron Baker makes big impression at Pan Am Games". Kansas.com. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Knicks to Participate in Orlando Pro Summer League". NBA.com. June 27, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Berman, Marc (October 21, 2016). "Ron Baker makes Knicks roster over Chasson Randle". NYPost.com. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "Knicks Sign Ron Baker". NBA.com. August 1, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "Knicks vs. Cavaliers – Box Score". ESPN.com. October 25, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Ron Baker 2016-17 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "All-Time NBA Assignments". NBA.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  14. ^ "2017-2018 New York Knicks Transactions History". RealGM.com. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Knicks Re-Sign Ron Baker". NBA.com. August 7, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Spurs beat Knicks, Popovich alone in 5th for coaching wins". ESPN.com. January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "New York Knicks' Ron Baker to have shoulder surgery, miss rest of season". NBA.com. February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  18. ^ "Knicks sign rookie Trier to guaranteed NBA deal, waive Baker". AP News. December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  19. ^ "Wizards sign Ron Baker". NBA.com. December 20, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Neil, Denise (July 8, 2016). "Ron Baker: NBA recruit and children's book author". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "Ron Baker Is Native America's Next NBA Star". indiancountrymedianetwork.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.

External links