Given the personnel losses incurred at the end of the 2013-14 season, Oregon State freshman guard Chai Baker was one of the newcomers expected to compete for minutes in head coach Wayne Tinkle’s first season at the helm. However things changed in mid-August, as Baker went into cardiac arrest while going through summer workouts at Oregon State.
Baker underwent multiple tests, with doctors looking to figure out what led to the episode. As a result of his medical issue the school announced Wednesday that it will not clear Baker for competition according to Connor Letorneau of The Oregonian. Even with this development, Baker will keep his athletic scholarship and remain a member of the basketball program.
While not having control of the way in which your career comes to an end can be painful, the fact of the matter is that Baker’s health is of far greater concern than the game of basketball.
“I know Chai is disappointed, as we all are,” Beavers athletic director Bob De Carolis said in the release. “However, Chai will have all the university support available to him to be successful academically at OSU and still be a member of Coach (Wayne) Tinkle’s program.”
Since his collapse, Baker has attended every Beavers practice. He sits on the sideline, dribbling a basketball or shooting hoops on an adjacent basket. The hard part, he said last week, is that “I feel normal. But my health is more important than anything. That’s the first and foremost thing.”
From a basketball standpoint losing Baker is a tough blow for a team that was already low on numbers. Returnees Malcolm Duvivier, Langston Morris-Walker and Victor Robbins are Oregon State’s most experienced perimeter returnees, with junior college transfer Gary Payton II also in line to play a lot of minutes in 2014-15.