Shocker guards announce they will return

Shocker guards announce they will return

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE

SIU men’s basketball has to play against Wichita State junior guards Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet for one more year.

Both made the last two All-Missouri Valley Conference First Teams, and announced they would return for their senior seasons on Monday, rather than declare for the NBA Draft. VanVleet was also named the MVC Player of the Year in 2014.

The two started all 35 games this season and were the top two scorers on the team. Baker averaged 14.7 points per game and VanVleet averaged 13.6.

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Baker led the MVC with 80 made 3-pointers and he led his team with a .383 three-point shooting percentage, with a minimum of 30 attempts.

“The reality is, I felt like any decision I made was going to be a good one,” Baker said in a Shocker Athletics press release. “I think I’ll eventually be successful at the next level, but with what we have coming in and the people we have returning, including Fred VanVleet, next season has the potential to be very special. It’s been an amazing ride here at WSU, and my family and I aren’t quite ready for it to end.”

VanVleet led the MVC with 183 assists, averaging 5.2 a game. He was second in conference and first on his team with 66 steals, averaging 1.9 a game.

He broke the school record for assists on Feb. 22, and has 465 going into his final season. He is also 52 steals shy of the school record.

“It’s been a good three years,” VanVleet said in a Shocker Athletics press release. “But now it’s time to finish what we started.”

In WSU press releases, coach Gregg Marshall said Baker has established himself as a Shocker great and iconic college basketball player. Marshall said VanVleet makes coaching easy and fun because he is a floor general.

Wichita State has had the best regular season record in conference the past two years, and won the 2014 MVC tournament. It earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament that season before being defeated by Kentucky in the second round.

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This season, the Shockers made the Sweet-16 after defeating the No. 2 seeded Kansas Jayhawks.   

The Salukis have not defeated the Shockers since Feb. 5, 2013, when the Dawgs won 64-62 at home.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 256.     

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