The development of Fred VanVleet and continued improvement of Cleanthony Early were two crucial elements of Wichita State’s record-setting season, but the driving component was arguably the emergence of Ron Baker. A redshirt sophomore, Baker’s shooting and torrid offensive showings propelled Wichita State to an top ten offensive efficiency rating, and the guard’s three-point touch was much needed for a squad that truly lacked consistent outside shooting in 2013. Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports that Baker will continue to develop in Wichita, and plans to return for his junior season.
That is not to say that Baker didn’t think about leaving college early: the guard requested a draft evaluation from the NBA. However, reports indicate that Baker would have likely been selected in the second round, and since that advice could have possibly been in his returned evaluation, he decided to return to the Missouri Valley program for another year.
Even without Early and Chadwick Lufile, the Shockers will be the cream of the conference. Though he isn’t recognized enough for his player development, Gregg Marshall is one of the best at building ex-juco players, and Darius Carter could be due for a senior year jump. VanVleet will likely be back for his junior season, as will Tekele Cotton (a guard who deserves much more credit for his shooting as well as defensive ferociousness) and Marshall will blend the returning Shockers with a deep recruiting class.