Well, Georgetown was named on a 2019 5-star recruit’s final list for the second time in three days and no one has guffawed too loudly. This time, instead of being part of a dozen suitors, the Hoyas are one of just four!
The prospect, Will Baker, is an athletic, versatile 7-foot center from Austin, TX, and his final four list surprised quite a few people—well, maybe not anyone who heard that Will Baker thinks it’s important that a team “use their big men and play through them.”
Based on what the other programs are saying—e.g., their recruiting priorities, available scholarships, and center-ignorant offenses—Will Baker may connect with Ewing and the Hoyas.
Here are some links and highlights (thrills?).
I would like to thank all of the programs and their coaching staffs who have spent time recruiting me, but I have chosen to narrow my list. I have decided to focus on the following four schools‼️@TiptonEdits pic.twitter.com/PRQeQkFJmY— Will Baker (@thrillbaker) August 29, 2018
Now let me introduce you to Class of 2019 big man Will Baker. He’s a 240-pound, 7-0 lefty who isn’t afraid to dribble down the court, go between his legs, then pull up for a jump shot or go to the rack for a poster dunk or circus layup that will have Brad Ballislife South celebrating behind the camera. Besides being comfortable with behind the back and between the legs dribbles in 1-on-1 situations, he’s also capable of throwing down between the legs dunks; Can you imagine Greg Oden pulling off an Eastbay dunk or a move like this?
Baker plays at Austin Westlake, which is in the backyard of Kevin Durant’s Alma mater, which means you can bet Texas head coach Shaka Smart, former Texas center Jarrett Allen and former Texas unicorn Mo Bamba have had a few conversations with the undeclared, 5-star center. I personally would like to see Baker keep his talents in beautiful Austin, but, he’s also reportedly considering Texas A&M, Stanford, North Carolina, Baylor, Kansas and UCLA (Shareef & Will Baker sounds like a fun duo to watch).
Q: With Georgetown as a big guy what is it like to have Patrick Ewing recruiting you?
A: It’s incredible, he called me and it was surreal getting to talk to him over the phone  I think it’s really cool that they are recruiting me and they are a big man school as well. They use their big men and play through them, which is important to me.
Q: When do you want to narrow things down a little more?
A: “I’d say probably sometime in the beginning of August,” he said. “I don’t know how many schools are going to be on that list, but we’ll see.
I think especially this week I showed that I can step out and hit a three or I can post up two and get some rebounds so yeah I think I’ve stepped up my defensive game too...
[have you always been able to shoot?] that’s funny because anything Iwas going to be this big my dad’s like six three and my mom’s like 5-10 or 5-11 so I think I was going to be this big I mean I was always the tallest in my class or whatever but I mean I just always shot so much when I was growing up especially in like before middle school and then in middle school I worked on at a time so I just prepared me for now ...
[do you know your wingspan?] it’s only like six eleven I don’t have that long arms but I mean I don’t know ...
[what are some of the areas you’re still trying to improve as a player?] um probably getting back on defense helping over on defense mainly defensive stuff but um yeah that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on right now I think I did a better job at this at that this this week...
Corey Davis: Baker is a multi-dimensional big man that can extend the defense with the perimeter jumper, carve up an opposing defense with the high or low-post pass, rebound in traffic and also change shots at the basket as a rim protector… A solid five-star prospect with his best basketball ahead of him, Baker is nowhere near a college decision. The top local programs will do their best to keep him near his Austin home, though UNC, Kansas and UCLA remain more than viable threats for his ultimate commitment
Baker’s hometown Texas Longhorns were considered favorites earlier in the process, but 247 now sees him as a UCLA lean. From his final list, it appears he is targeting schools with strong academics.
There is not currently a spot available for him at Stanford; the Cardinal are slated to have 12 returning scholarship players and have received a commitment from Tyrell Terry.
UCLA already has three players committed to their 2019 class: 4-star SG Grant Sherfield, 4-star SF Jaime Jaquez and 3-star SG Jake Kyman. If things work out, they might also land one of the top centers in the nation, 6’11, 240 lbs. Will Baker out of Texas.
Baker has been high on the Bruins for a while and according to 247Sports, UCLA has the edge to land him.
Baker is stringy, he is lanky, but that seems to work to his advantage as he is able to easily maneuver around the paint. Think of him as the next Thomas Welsh, but with a little bit more.
Baker has several weapons in his arsenal. When he is down low, he can use his body and strength to create space and make plays. He is a flashy dunker, has a sweet short-range hook and can kick the ball out if he finds nothing in the low post, but that is not all he can do. Baker can pop out for some mid-to-long range shots, making him an offensive threat all over the court
Five-star center and Austin, TX, native Will Baker is hotly contested by a number of top programs across the nation. However, with Baker being right in the backyard of the University of Texas, this should be a slam dunk for the Horns. A commitment from a versatile center like Baker would put Texas in the top 25 classes in the nation for the 2019 cycle almost immediately.
Texas has sent four offers out to 2019 center prospects, with Baker as the second highest rated that that position. This Westlake High School product currently has 15 offers total, with Texas looking like one of the favorites to get his commitment…
But, we’ll go back to the geographical relevance of the Horns in the pursuit of Baker. That is the obvious choice if he wants to stay close to home. The
Texas A&M Aggies , Baylor Bears , and TCU Horned Frogsare the other in-state teams that sent him an offer.
No mention of GU here in April by Zagoria:
As far as recruiting, Baker said several schools are standing out and he broke them down for FloHoops.
‘The schools that are recruiting me the hardest are probably Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, Stanford, and Baylor,’ he said.
North Carolina: ‘[Roy Williams and the staff] came down to watch me work out and they just let me know again that they really like me and they think I’m going to be a fit if I come there.’
Texas: ‘Mo Bamba came out of their program and Jarrett Allen. I got to talk to coach (Shaka) Smart a little bit a while back and we talked a little bit about Jarrett Allen and what his goals were coming into college and what he wanted to accomplish after, whether he wanted to go to the draft after one year. And Coach Smart told me that he just wanted to improve as much as possible and have the best freshman year at Texas and we talked about that. And just how if the opportunity to go into the draft would be possible then I would take it but just to focus and stay in the moment and just work every day and focus on the closer things and not the long goals because if you achieve the shorter, more achievable in-the-moment things then you’ll definitely get there.’ ...
UCLA: ‘They have a really good film program. I like coach (Steve) Alford and coach (Duane) Broussard. I have a good relationship with them and they text me every week so that’s good.’ …
Wherever he goes, Baker can be a force... ‘I think I can play the four in college,’ he said. ‘I play the five right now, but I can stretch the floor. I can dribble the ball down if necessary. I can pass really well and provide other opportunities for my teammates. I think I can post up and also shoot the 3.’
I think a twin-tower approach with Yurtseven will do fine with Baker’s abilities.