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Homecoming for Konnor Baker

Konnor Baker's days as a Bulldog can be found in the school's record books, while his journey at ONU is just beginning (Composite photo/Ada Herald & ONU sports information office).

Long before his days as a Polar Bear, before even the football scholarship offers started flowing in, Konnor Baker was a freshman starter on an Ada Bulldog basketball team that qualified for state.

Those were the days.

“My freshman year and my senior year we were good, otherwise we kind of stunk,” said Baker of his high school hoops days and the success that has eluded the Bulldogs since Baker played in that gym. Baker doubled as the quarterback on a few of the best Bulldog football teams in recent memory, but basketball was his first love.

Konnor Baker went on to break the school scoring record, setting the pace with 1,567 career points. The accolades built up over Baker’s four-year career at Ada, including Conference Player of the Year, District player of the Year, and an appearance on the division six All-State team his senior year, a year where he averaged over 20 points per game.

Keeping his focus on college athletics, Baker accepted a scholarship to the University of Findlay, a storied basketball program. He turned down offers to play quarterback at nearly every MAC school in the process. “Coach [Mike] Fell and I worked hard on getting me looks from division one schools, but basketball has always been my favorite,” said Baker on why he chose to pursue one over the other with the Oilers. “School was free wherever I wanted to go; I just had to choose what was best for me.”

His freshman year came and went, playing under five minutes per game. He played a role, albeit a small one, on an NCAA tournament basketball team. The stats don’t share much else, averaging less than one point per contest. He was relegated to the bench, a place he didn’t particularly enjoy.

Three weeks before his sophomore season was set to begin, Baker broke his elbow in an accident and was forced to use a redshirt. He was forced to sit out the entire year. That sophomore season was poised to be a breakout one for the former Ada star, but the injury held him back. He was looking at the same role he had as a freshman, spending much of it on the bench.

The decision to come home was an easy one for Konnor, saying that he didn’t even look anywhere else after those circumstances at Findlay.

Kent Baker was a 1981 graduate and is currently 25th all-time on the ONU scoring list; his 1,140 career points coming as a result of his shooting abilities, most of which are historically noted in the ONU basketball record books. From the time his son Konnor was young, and all the way through his high school days, Kent was both the biggest critic and biggest fan. An assistant coach on Ada’s high school staff, Konnor says his dad was always the first one there to tell him what he did wrong, when he did it. As far as his record goes, Konnor needs to average 14.4 points per game over 75 games to pass his dad on the scoring list.

“That’ll be easy,” he said of catching his dad’s scoring record. He went on to say that his Dad never looked much at records and stats, but is definitely a special opportunity now that he’s here at ONU. “Rushton is who I really want.” He’s referring to recently-graduated (2014) Polar Bear Branden Rushton, who ranks 6th all-time on the ONU all-time scoring list with 1,493 points. To do that, he’d need to average 19.1 points per game over those same 75 games in three years.

Since starting the scrimmage against Ohio University, Konnor has come off the bench for the Polar Bears, playing the third-most minutes on the team, at over 25 per night. The team is 4-0 going into a Wednesday night contest against Otterbein, and Baker says he doesn’t care how his stats look as long as they keep winning and playing well.

Playing well is exactly what the Polar Bears plan to continue to do, as they being their double-round-robin OAC schedule on Wednesday night. Baker said that the defense so far for ONU has been great, giving up an average of 60.5 points per game, but the offense could always improve.

“This team has the talent to win the OAC and make the NCAA tournament,” said Baker, something that the Findlay Oilers were quite accustomed to, but that the Polar Bears are still working on. “This team and our work ethic will be the only things that can say how good we are,” added Baker, saying that he enjoys being a part of something here that’s a little different from what he had at Findlay in his past life.

Konnor Baker is still at home on the court. The difference is that now he’s at home off of it as well. The Polar Bears are off to a hot start and Baker feels right at home in the process.   

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1 Comment

Kathryn Baker says:

Great article, however the ada picture you have in the article is of Kyle baker #21 brother to Konnor Baker who was #15 at Ada High School.  Kyle also played Basketball and Football at ONU his freshman year, and then chose to do 1 sport and picked football along with his academic load.

:)

Submitted by Kathryn Baker on Thu, 12/11/2014 - 1:37pm

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