Busting Brackets

One Last Ride: Wichita State Shockers Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet Return


The Wichita State Shockers are in a great position to improve on their Sweet Sixteen run with the return of their two best players.

Before you say anything, yes, I realize this is not “Furious 7,” and neither Fred VanVleet nor Ron Baker has passed away. But damn it all if it doesn’t feel like Wichita State’s final journey to make it back to the Final Four.

According to KWCH 12, the CBS affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, both Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker will be returning for their senior season, hoping to cash in on their last chance together to make a run back into the hallowed ground of the Final Four. VanVleet and Baker were only freshmen when the Wichita State Shockers reached the national semifinal round in 2013, and they are hoping to get the team back to that stage entering their senior year.

Wichita State is coming off a season where they won the Missouri Valley Conference Regular Season title and reached the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. In the process of getting to the regional semifinal round, they defeated college basketball powerhouse Kansas, effectively stating that they will no longer take a backseat in their home state of Kansas. Bringing back VanVleet, Baker, and head coach Greg Marshall puts them in a great position for success.

Fred VanVleet, widely regarded as one of the top point guards in the nation, averaging 13.6 points and 5.2 assists per game during the 2014-15 season. When the Shockers were floundering against Notre Dame in their final game of the season, VanVleet did his best to keep Wichita State in the game, scoring 25 points.

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Helping VanVleet out on the perimeter is Ron Baker, who led the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game. Aside from being a sniper from beyond the three-point arc, Baker is also an underrated playmaker and defender who knows how to do the little things to earn victories.

The road won’t be easy for VanVleet or Baker during their final season. Gone are seniors Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter, who led the Shockers with 5.4 rebounds a game. However, with four-star recruit Landry Shamet slated to come aboard next season and Kansas transfer Conner Frankamp joining Wichita State, the Shockers will have one of the more potent collections of backcourt talent in the country.

No, you won’t be seeing VanVleet jumping from one building to another, or Ron Baker living life a quarter-mile at a time in a ten-second car, but at least for their college basketball careers, this will be their last ride together.

Next: Virginia's Justin Anderson Declares for the NBA Draft

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