Tag: Ron Baker

Andy Enfield
Associated Press

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.

PHOTOS: Wichita State unveils new black uniforms

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Wichita State unveiled new road uniforms on Friday afternoon, via the athletic department’s Facebook page.

The Shockers will officially unveil the new black uniforms on Nov. 17 during a non-conference contest at Tulsa.

Wichita State has won 30 games in each of the last three seasons. This rise to national prominence includes an appearance in the 2013 Final Four, followed by an undefeated regular season in 2013-14. The Shockers intends to build on that success this year behind the play of one of the nation’s premier back courts in Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet.

Check out the uniforms Baker and VanVleet will wear in their final season with the Shockers:

Ron Baker

Fred VanVleet

Wichita State opens the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Charleston Southern.

Ron Baker, Fred Van Vleet to return to Wichita State

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Wichita State announced on Monday that Ron Baker will be returning to school for his senior season.

“I spent a lot of time talking it over with Coach, my teammates and my family,” Baker said. “The reality is, I felt like any decision I made was going to be a good one. I think I’ll eventually be successful at the next level, but with what we have coming in and the people we have returning, including Fred VanVleet, next season has the potential to be very special.”

MORE: Who has entered 2015 NBA Draft?

“It’s been an amazing ride here at WSU, and my family and I aren’t quite ready for it to end.”

There was some speculation that Baker would be heading to the NBA while head coach Gregg Marshall was in the process of deciding where he would be coaching next season. Baker will be a redshirt senior in 2015-2016, meaning that it’s unlikely his draft stock will change between now and the 2016 NBA Draft. He’ll probably end up being a second round pick. Professionally speaking, there wasn’t much to gain returning to Wichita State, particularly if he finished his degree in his four years on campus.

But with VanVleet back — which wasn’t official until this announcement — and Marshall still their head coach, the Shockers will once again have a chance to do something special next year. They will likely enter the season as a preseason top ten team.