SCOTT CITY, Kansas - Shockers guard Ron Baker hadn't been home since Christmas, but much has changed since then. A month after helping to put his hometown on the map during the NCAA basketball tournament, Baker returned to his hometown to thank residents there for their support.
"It means a lot, they helped my family out the whole way and to me, that's pretty special," Baker said. "I'm very proud to be from here, and as you can see, the community supports not just me, but everything that runs this community is supported very well."
Baker and the Shockers reached the Final Four, and along the way, Baker gave frequent praise to his hometown of 3,800 people in the national spotlight. The city returned the favor, declaring March 21 "Ron Baker Day" in Scott City.
While Baker may be known best to Shockers fans for his clutch shooting, around these parts, he's also the guy who hit the game-winning shot in the 2011 3A state high school championship game for the Scott City Beavers, the first of three consecutive state titles. From his determination to walk-on and redshirt for a year at Wichita State to his key role on the team now, Scott City has been pulling for him to succeed.
"One thing I remember after beating Ohio State, the question someone asked me was, 'What's Scott City doing right now?' You saw us storm the court like that, well, imagine Main Street in Scott City all black and yellow. They were pretty ecstatic, and there's a lot of people proud of me from my hometown," Baker said.
Baker and his family held a meet-and-greet Sunday at the high school as a way to thank people for their support.
"People can't imagine how the community has supported us throughout the tournament we went through, and this signing day, we set up for the community to come back and visit with Ron and the kids get some autographs, just to thank them for what they've done for us," Neil Baker, Ron's dad, said.
Scott City may be a changed town since Baker helped put it on the map. Before the run to Atlanta, it's a place that would mostly bleed the silver and purple of K-State, but there is a lot more black and yellow now.
"With me at Wichita State, that's kind of changed the course of some families, they might be K-State and WSU fans now, and that's good to see," Ron said.
And by now, he's Scott City's most famous resident, some thinking jokingly he could be mayor due to the popularity.
"I'll leave that [position] to our mayor right now, that's on him," Ron said.
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