- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
- 0 Shares
Wichita State sophomore guard Ron Baker will return to school for his junior year, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.
The 6-foot-3 Baker sent in an NBA draft evaluation form last week, but sources told ESPN.com that Baker -- a key cog in the Shockers' success the past two seasons -- decided to return to college.
Baker was a virtual unknown coming out of the small west Kansas town of Scott City, but he has established himself as one of the nation's top guards. He averaged 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season for a team that went through the regular season and Missouri Valley Conference tournament unbeaten, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Shockers lost to 8-seed Kentucky 78-76 in their second game despite getting 20 points from Baker.
According to multiple NBA executives, Baker was projected as a second-round pick if he elected to leave this season.
Wichita State will lose senior and leading scorer Cleanthony Early, who had 31 points against Kentucky and who, along with Baker, was instrumental in helping the Shockers reach the Final Four last season. Wichita State will return Baker, point guard Fred VanVleet, Tekele Cotton and big man Darius Carter next season.