This article was originally written by Samson So and appeared in the Spartan Daily on December 2, 2014. It has been republished with the author’s permission.
Jordan Baker is just your average college student.
He cuts people’s hair as a hobby.
He loves art and music.
When he has spare time away from basketball, he enjoys watching movies on Netflix.
But most of the time, basketball is his life.
Standing 6-feet-3-inches tall, Baker starts as shooting guard for the San Jose State men’s basketball team and is living his dream playing college basketball.
Baker spoke of his humble beginnings as a kid with a basketball and how his family always influenced him.
“My father was the first person to put a basketball in my hands,” Baker said. “He knew that I would play basketball because whenever he asked me to throw something away, I’d try to shoot it in from three. My dad was definitely a huge influence in my life and without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Baker also credits his mother for always supporting him throughout his basketball career.
“My mom has always been there for me even though she never really understood the game of basketball,” Baker said. “Her love and support has really pushed me to strive for greatness.”
That drive has exploded onto the court since Baker has put up averages of 11.5 points, 4 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season.
Transferring from Pepperdine University, Baker sat on the bench all of his first year at SJSU because of the NCAA rule requiring all transfer athletes to sit a year before becoming eligible to compete.
According to Baker and Spartan men’s basketball head coach Dave Wojcik, the year spent practicing and learning helped fine tune the junior guard’s game.
“Although he didn’t play in actual games last year because he transferred, during practices I thought his shot selection was poor and he would just take bad shots sometimes,” Wojcik said. “I talked to him a lot about knowing what the time, score and situation was. Maybe we don’t need a quick shot and instead we need to move the ball more, which has helped him be more efficient.”
Baker said he made it a personal goal to get physically stronger the past two seasons, and that he wanted to work on free throws and limit turnovers.
Wojcik said he immediately noticed Baker’s adjustment to his new teammates.
“He’s fit in really well with the team, he’s a very vocal leader for this team, and he does it through his play and hard work,” Wojcik said. “If he sees someone doing something wrong, he has no problem pulling them aside and talking to them.”
One reason Baker chose San Jose State was because of Wojcik’s personality and coaching style.
“Coach Wojcik’s passion and energy is something I really saw in myself,” Baker said. “That same love that we have for the game was really important to me when deciding.”
Wojcik noticed the young guard’s love and passion for the game.
“He knows when it’s time to get serious during a game, but he also knows when to just throw a joke in here or there to relax everyone,” Wojcik said. “His escape from everything is when he gets on the court.”
There are some traits Wojcik also noticed of Baker’s personality and charisma on the court.
“What I love most about Jordan is his smile and how he always comes to practice upbeat all the time,” Wojcik said. “From a coach’s standpoint, I also love that I don’t have to kick or prod him to get him going and instead, he gets everyone else going because he’s so vocal.”
While Baker plays an important role on the team, he emphasized the importance of life outside of basketball.
“Coach taught me more about life off of the court,” Baker said. “He wants to see us succeed in our education and he sets a high standard for us. He always tells me that as an adult, you have to have discipline and if we really want something you have to work for it.”