Wichita State's historic undefeated run was primarily led by forward Cleanthony Early with able support from a strong backcourt trio. Those three guards—Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton—return, and they'll need to come out smoking while coach Gregg Marshall explores his front-line options.
Baker was second to Early in scoring at 13.1 points per game (PPG) last season, and he got points wherever he wanted them. Hoop-Math.com showed Baker's shooting percentages at 64.6/45.8/38.4 at the rim, on mid-range jumpers and from three-point land, respectively.
Baker's reliance on the three-pointer paints him as the traditional shooting guard, but he needed only five triples to score 66 points in a three-game, early-season run against DePaul, BYU and Saint Louis. Two of those three would become NCAA tournament teams (no points for guessing the scrubs). Before that, Baker had also poured in 21 against Tulsa, another eventual tourney team.
Even when the unbeaten string came to an end, Baker was still producing more than any Shocker, save Early. His 20 points against Kentucky made him and Early (31 points in a star-quality performance) the only WSU players to score more than six against the lengthy, athletic Wildcats.
There are a lot of shots available with Early's departure. Baker can be the most versatile threat on the Shockers roster if he finds his way to the basket more often. Not bad for a guy who first showed up as a preferred walk-on.