Colonia Standout and GMC Hoops POY to Attend Same College as NFL HOF Jerry Rice
Colonia’s Chad Baker rises to block a shot against GMC White Division rival, Edison back in December 2018. The recent Colonia graduate, former Patriots boys basketball standout, and 2019 GMC Hoops POY will be attending Mississippi Valley State to play men’s basketball this fall.
COLONIA, NJ—Recently, GMC Hoops learned that Colonia Boys Basketball standout, and 2019 GMC Hoops Player of the Year, Chad Baker will be attending Mississippi Valley State in the fall and will play men’s basketball there. Baker played the past two seasons at Colonia, and helped them to two straight GMCT Final Four appearances including a berth in the 2018 GMCT Finals, and a 2019 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Championship.
Baker’s size, length, and versatility made him not only the best player in the GMC this past season, but also one of the top players in the Garden State. Baker was selected to play in the NJSCA Senior Boys All-Star Game at Rider University on March 16th this year as well as chosen to suit up in the GMCBCA Senior All-Star Boys Game at Middlesex County College on March 27th. Baker dazzled in both exhibitions including several dunks.
According to NJ.com, Baker played in a total of 45 games over the past two seasons at Colonia including all 29 contests this year for head coach Jose Rodriguez and the Patriots. Over those two seasons, Baker, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, tallied 219 field goals, 41 three pointers, and 109 free throws for a total of 674 points, or an average of about 15 points per game. Most of those points, 551 came this past season.
In 2018-19, Baker, collected 168 field goals, 38 three point field goals, and 97 foul shots, all among the leaders in the GMC to end up with an average of 19 points per game. The senior forward also tabulated 171 rebounds, 35 steals, 33 assists, and 25 blocks to average 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.1 assists, and almost a block per game this past season. In addition to his scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking ability, Baker was able to handle and share the basketball well.
The ability to bring the ball up court against pressure, and distribute to others turned out to be a very important component to Colonia’s run in the state tournament that resulted in smashing victories over Rahway in the North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Semifinals, and West Morris Central in the Championship Game. After Baker’s teammate, Luke Valeriano went down with an injury against Snyder in the quarterfinal round, Baker took over, and helped instill confidence in the likes of Jimmy Frage.
Frage in turn put in memorable performances in each of those two games as well as versus Ramapo in the Group 3 state semifinals at East Orange Campus. In those three games, Frage collected 9 field goals, 8 three pointers, and 4 free throws for a total of 46 points, or an average of 15.1 points per game including a season high 24 points versus West Morris Central in the Championship Game to earn GMC Hoops Post-Season Player of the Year Honors. Frage scored 9 points versus Rahway, 24 against West Morris Central, and 11 against Ramapo in Colonia’s last three playoff games.
It was these qualities that helped Baker not only earn GMC Hoops Player of the Year, but also MyCentralJersey.com All Area First Team honors. As a junior, Baker also made a significant contribution to Colonia’s GMCT and N2G3 runs under the direction of former head coach and standout, Brandon Hall. In the latter rounds of both tourneys, Baker proved to be a significant difference maker with his size, length, shot blocking abilities as well as make clutch buckets from both the perimeter and inside.
Baker capped a Colonia rally from a 35-16 third quarter deficit against St. Joseph’s with a baseline jumper from the left side for a Patriots 43-41 edge with a little over a minute remaining in the 2018 GMCT Championship. However, K-Shawn Schulters, the GMCT MVP that year, came up with two big plays down the stretch including an incredible turnaround jumper from well beyond the three point arc to give the Falcons yet another championship, 46-43. Baker wound up with 10 points, 6 blocks, and 5 rebounds in that game.
According to NJ.com, Baker made 51 field goals, 3 treys, and 12 free throws in 16 games as a junior in 2017-18 for a total of 123 points, or 7.7 ppg. The effort also included 8 points against third seeded Old Bridge in the 2018 GMCT Semifinals. Over the two seasons at Colonia, Baker scored in 44 of the 45 games he played for the Patriots including 32 games of posting double figures, and 15 games of 20 points or more. Baker also had two games this past season, where he scored at least 30 points including a career high of 31 versus North Brunswick at home on January 15th.
Baker contributed to a Patriots program that compiled an overall record of 41-15 including a 21-3 mark in GMC White Division play. Colonia won the GMC White with an unblemished 12-0 record in 2018-19. The Patriots finished 2nd in division in 2017-18, but became the first 7th seeded team to ever reach an MCT/GMCT Championship Game. Colonia also reached the 2018 North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Semifinals as an eighth seed before losing to Irvington. The Pats knocked off top seeded Rahway along the way.
Mississippi Valley State has a history of having a player or two go under the radar. One Jerry Rice, who won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers in 1985, 1989, 1990, and 1995, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame also played football in college for the Delta Devils. This past season, MVSU finished 6-26 overall including a 4-14 mark in the SWAC. The Delta Devils did manage to improve a little from its 4-28 overall mark in 2017-18 though, and with Baker, can make strides to get even better. Congratulations Chad on making it to the next level, and best of luck going forward.