Where your average high-school star wants an instant winner, new Rutgers signee Geo Baker wants a challenge.
The 6-foot-4 point guard commit from Andover (N.H.) Proctor Academy was the harbinger for DC Blue Devils' New Hampshire's emergence as an AAU program. Baker fully expects the same growth under coach Steve Pikiell at Rutgers.
“In AAU, we weren't sponsored and our first game as sophomores we had one or two coaches at our game,” Baker said. “My first offer was from Central Connecticut State. It was little things that we just built it up to the point where we had 30 to 40 coaches at our games. They were there to see us and we did that. I'm used to people doubting me. I'm used to people sleeping on me and my team, so I'm really excited to turn it around and get going.”
Baker signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday night, and Rutgers made it official Thursday. Pikiell was not shy about how seriously he wanted Baker in Piscataway.
“If you look around at our league and you look at some of the point guards that every team has, it's nice to add a guy that has size with range like that,” Pikiell said. “I couldn't be more pleased. He was our No. 1 priority going into this summer. I'm real pleased that we were able to make him a part of our family.”
For a program with plenty of priorities after a coaching change and one-win conference season, Baker felt like he was on the top of the list as a recruit.
“I had a really good relationship with coach Pikiell to where we were talking almost every day before I was committed,” Baker said. “All of the coaches saw me multiple times before I committed. I felt like I was their top target and I just really enjoyed that.”
AAU coach TJ Thompson has ties with Pikiell and assistant Karl Hobbs as a player for George Washington. Baker came onto the Rutgers radar early after Pikiell's arrival and became a top target. Thompson previously told Scarlet Report that “any coach in the country would be lucky to have him.”
“He's been very well coached,” Pikiell said. “That was clear when we recruited him. He really comes from a great family. He's an in-the-gym kind of player and he has a terrific basketball IQ. He's as good a shooter as there is in the country. He's got deep range and terrific shooting touch. I couldn't be more pleased. Great kid, great student, and a point guard with a terrific IQ.”
Baker was a shooter out of necessity in high school, but he wants to be a true point guard for Rutgers under the tutelage of Pikiell, Hobbs, Jay Young and Brandin Knight.
“I'm a tall point guard that loves to make plays for other guys,” Baker said. “A lot of people know me for my jump shot. I got to shoot a lot but the people that really know me know that I can get everyone the ball. I'm just playmaker. I bring a lot of energy and a lot of emotion.”
The son of an MIT graduate, education comes first for the future Rutgers business student.
“My mom went to MIT, so I'm a big academic person,” Baker said. “I definitely want to go all four years and get my degree and crack down on it. I want to study business, so I'm really excited about that.”