Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Baker Accepts Scholarship Offer, Commits to Rutgers

Geo Baker (Derry, NH) is a great role model for younger players coming up in NH. He has worked his tail off to get to where he is today. Baker has picked up so many Division I scholarship offers he has lost count!

"It's either 24 or 25" Baker told the NH Notebook on Thursday afternoon.

For a guard from NH, that's an unprecedented number. Baker has developed into one of the most sought after recruits in the country from the Class of 2017. Earlier today on Twitter, he announced his commitment to Rutgers University.

"I'm so excited - this is a dream come true" Baker told the NH Notebook. Coach Pikiell told me he really stresses hard work - they want to be in the gym. He stressed that to me and everyone else on the team. I really liked that, because that's how I am - I'm always in the gym working. Secondly, Coach Pikiell and assistant coach Knight - they're both guard coaches and my game fits their style of play. Lastly, the level of competition was a factor. At Rutgers, I'll play against teams like Michigan and Michigan State."

Rutgers competes in the Big 10 conference, which is one of the six most competitive college basketball leagues in the country.

"They first started recruiting me during the second week of April at the Pittsburgh JamFest" explained Baker. "Their coach really liked my game, and then the head coach canceled his flight so he could see me play. Then they made me an offer. From there they kept in touch and going to my games. We just played in Orlando, and either the head coach or assistant coach was at all of my games during the live period."

The 6-foot-3 Baker is a natural point guard, but he can also slide over and play the 2. He's an excellent play maker, with the ability to hit 3's, run the break, has great court vision and can play above the rim by slamming down dunks. Baker is a wizard with the ball in his hands, with great quickness and a tight handle. He can either score the basketball or set his teammates up for the score. When I first saw this kid play he was a tiny 12 year-old. He was only about 4-foot-11, but was dominating the NH AAU State Tournament. Now Baker has a chance to be the best guard to ever come out of NH.

"I think people will really start noticing New Hampshire players more" said Baker. Between myself, Caleb (Green), Chef (Thsiefu Ngalakulondi), Max Curran - he just committed to UMBC - there's a lot of talent here. I think now the younger guys coming up will see that it's possible, and everything is going to change for NH, especially with TJ (Thompson working with the guys."

Baker is wrapping up the AAU season with the DC Blue Devils, coached by TJ Thompson, who starred at George Washington and then played professionally in Europe. The team has Baker, Green and Ngalakulondi - all are from NH and combined they hold dozens of D-I scholarship offers.

"Five different kids on our team have offers and a couple other are getting serious looks" said Baker. For a team from NH, and a non-sponsored program - we're making history. My drive, work ethic and passion for the game have helped get me here, but working with TJ took my game to the next level. When he first came to NH and started working out with kids, I started working with him, working on dribble moves and that helped a lot."

During the current AAU season, Baker and his team were getting followed around by numerous D-I college coaches.

"At one of our games there was 40 coaches there" said Baker. Louisiana Tech, Rutgers, Loyola, Lafayette, Lehigh, Vermont, George Washington - lots of others were coming to my games recruiting me. Sometimes I'd miss a call from one college coach because I was on the phone with another. Or I'd get texts from multiple coaches at the same time, and I'd have to keep track of who I responded to. It was pretty hectic, but I enjoyed it."

Now Baker gets ready for his senior season at Proctor Academy, where he'll again suit up alongside his friends Green and Ngalakulondi. With them leading the way, Proctor could be one of the top prep school squads in the country. Then Baker will be off to Rutgers to continue his journey. He'll aim at a starting spot in the Scarlet Knights backcourt.

"I hope to go there and play right away, but I know I'll have to work for it" said Baker. "The coaches told me that nothing is guaranteed. They told me I have a chance, but I need to fight for it."

All of this success, and he's still humble. That's why Baker is a great role model.

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