Point guards are natural leaders, and that is exactly what Andover (N.H.) Proctor Academy's Geo Baker will do for Rutgers basketball.
The 6-foot-4 2017 prospect becomes the first 2017 commitment to Rutgers basketball and coach Steve Pikiell with a Wednesday afternoon announcement. Baker played well in front of the Rutgers staff during the July live periods and emerged as a top target.
“He just couldn't stop smiling,” Baker said on his commitment to Pikiell. “He just kept smiling. He said he was so happy. The main thing he said was that he's going to surround me with more good players in this class.”
Baker saw enough from Rutgers during the July live periods to comfortably end his recruitment.
“I picked Rutgers because coach Pikiell is a guard coach and coach [Brandin] Knight is a guard coach and they really let their guards do their thing,” Baker said. “They're going to give me the ball and let me make decisions for myself. … [Rutgers] can expect a hard worker. Expect high energy and a lot of threes.”
A builder's attitude is nothing new for Baker. With opportunities from plenty of known AAU commodities, Baker stuck with the DC Blue Devils-NH program to put them on the map.
“Overall, he's a great kid,” said DC Blue Devils-NH co-director TJ Thompson. “At this point, any coach in the country would be lucky to have him. … He's been through the building process before. He took a team that no one knew about and helped build a program. A lot of people know who we are, and I think he can do the same thing with Rutgers.”
Rebuilding a program did not scare Baker away from what Rutgers faces in the upcoming seasons.
“A lot of people at other schools would say 'don't go to Rutgers, they're not winning.,” Baker said. “With [my AAU team], we were basically nobody and now we're a winning program. We really changed a lot of peoples minds. We turned from nobody to somebody that had every coach watching us at our gym. That's the same thing I want to do at Rutgers -- go from a losing program to a winning program with hard work and dedication.”
Thompson said 6-foot-4 might not be the end of Baker's growth as a basketball player.
“I think he was a bit under-rated and not a lot of people knew about him and tried to get in late,” Thompson said. “Rutgers is getting a very special talent, very under-rated, very versatile. He's probably the best shooter in the country in my personal opinion. He can not only create shots for himself, but he makes plays for his teammates too. You play him at point and he can run the team or he can play [shooting guard]. His talent is ridiculous.”
Rutgers associate head coach Karl Hobbs coached Thompson at George Washington for another tie inn this commitment.
“[My coach] turned into a great player thanks to them and he's a great person, so I know I'll be in really good hands with them at Rutgers.”
George Washington and George Mason were among his other scholarship offers, but Stanford, Minnesota and California showed increased interest during the July live periods.
Baker plans to sign with Pikiell during the early period.