Wake Forest Wednesday became the ninth offer for 2019 Trinity Christian School (NC) forward Joey Baker.
Before the day was complete, he added a 10th — this one from Providence.
And this is likely just the start for Baker, a player Fayetteville Observer’s Bret Strelow described as “athletic, explosive, fluid and skilled.”
Scout ranks Baker the No. 23 sophomore in the country.
“Joey had the opportunity as an eighth grader to play varsity for us. He got to play with Dennis Smith, during his junior year, before he got hurt, so he got the opportunity to play on a big stage at a young age,” Trinity Christian coach Heath Vandevender said. “I think that exposed him to the type of level kid he wants to be. He came back and made All-State as a freshman for us. He works extremely hard and is a very intelligent player. He had a breakout freshman year, averaging almost 13 points a game. I expect him to score well next year as a sophomore.”
Baker is 6-foot-7 ½ with a 6-10 wingspan. Vandevender believes Baker still may get as tall as 6-9 or 6-10 before he graduates.
“He’s long. He can shoot the jump shot. He can post. He passes well and is athletic,” he said. “He’s going to continue to work hard and I think he’s got an extremely high ceiling.”
Baker holds three other ACC offers (Virginia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina State). He also holds an offer from Tennessee, where former Trinity Christian teammate Kwe Parker ultimately landed. Baker and teammate Greg Gantt attended a UT elite camp, then took unofficial visits to Kentucky in mid-June, according to Strelow.
“It’s a huge blessing. He knows he’s going to go to a good college for free. He’s a pretty humble kid and he’s going to keep working,” Vandevender said. “He has family from the Boston area, and Providence just offered yesterday. He’s going to continue to grind.”
Vandevender is salivating over the opportunity to coach Baker alongside Josh Nickelberry, another rising sophomore with a Wake Forest offer.
“Josh Nickelberry is another great offensive player,” he said. “We’ll run a lot of different things where we can put him on different parts of the floor to score the ball.”
Nickelberry, who also holds an offer from Virginia Tech, attended Trinity Christian in sixth and seventh grade, transferred away and has now returned.
“I think Josh and Joey compliment each other very well,” Vandevender said. “As a coaching staff, we’ll figure out the best things we can do to coach to their strengths. You can’t play box-and-1 on either one of them. Josh is becoming even more athletic. He can come off ball screens and can go dunk on people.
“He’s always been a great catch-and-shoot kid, and is also very smart. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We have a great front line and two really good guards. We’re building around those five guys, and four of them are sophomores. That’s what is kind of crazy to have — four younger guys together that are all D-1 kids.”