Why Geo Baker gave up basketball for a new passion at Rutgers | Politi

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Geo Baker has finished playing basketball.

The Rutgers star told me over the phone Wednesday afternoon, in clear language that leaves no room for misunderstanding, and I still ask the same questions my friends, teammates, agents, even NBA home-office officials asked when he broke the news to them mau.

Do you PERMANENT have you finished playing basketball?

“She is OK. I’m done playing. ”

If he had paused long enough, I would have asked him the same question again. And let me be clear: This is not because I have no doubt what is planned for the future. When it comes to off-the-court efforts, Baker will be remembered as one of the smartest athletes in college basketball history.

The next thing is considered an amazing thing that, if successful, could change the way Rutgers fans interact with their beloved team and even with one another. We get the details of what exactly entails in minutes.

No, you have to keep asking him – do you PERMANENT that you are PERMANENT are you done – comes from a selfish place. After five years of watching him evolve from a skinny two-star recruit from New Hampshire to a program-changing leader at Piscataway, I wanted to see where his career would take him.

I’m sure a few thousand Rutgers fans can relate to it. He was barely two months removed from his last college game, losing twice to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.

“This is not a quick decision,” Baker said when asked about the process. “A lot of my friends, when I said it, didn’t believe it. They kept waiting for me to go back to the gym and start training for the draft.

The Portsmouth Invitational, one of the pre-NBA Draft scouting events in mid-April, offered the invitation. She refuses. Several NBA teams, hearing the news through the grapevine, arrived to see if the news was true. He told them that.

Skepticism is understandable. With most basketball players, you have to remove the crowbar with a crowbar in order to stop playing. He will travel to the ends of the earth to find another team, another opportunity, another game.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” Baker said. “I found a new passion, and one of the things COVID taught me was, you do what you love. It’s not going to be easy. But moving from one to the next, and knowing that I’m happy with the next thing, is really fun.

The next project was called the Knight Society. Baker, with partner Eric LeGrand, hopes to combine a “mix of passions” in an effort that brings together Rutgers students, alumni and athletes in an unprecedented way using NFT technology.

“Hopefully, when you reach Rutgers as a student, the first thing you do is get a member of the Knight Society,” Baker said. “The reason for that is because of all the benefits available – networking, discounts, meeting athletes, etc.”

He knows there are people of a certain age – hello! – who doesn’t know NFTs, so break it down just. The Knight Society is a club that provides a way for alumni to not only stay connected, but gain exclusive benefits from the local businesses involved while using similar names, images and rules to support current athletes.

Baker uses the platform to help NIL become a reality in college sports. He doesn’t get the full benefit of this new era, but he wants to make sure the next generation of athletes – and he can do that here in New Jersey.

“I want more, honestly, just Rutgers,” he said. “I love the university, the people, the athletics (department). The only thing I want is, it has to do with alumni. There’s a lot of pride, but it’s not regulated. I think that Eric and I can handle this.”

Still confused? Check out the website. Or, better yet, ask him. One of the benefits Baker gets from retiring as a basketball player – sorry, that’s still weird – is that, unlike other college stars who disperse when they leave college, he’ll stick around.

You’ll see him at Jersey Mike’s Arena, and SHI Stadium, and wherever the Rutgers team is playing.

“I plan on completing super fan mode,” Baker said. “I really enjoy watching them, and also watching other teams. Rutgers athletics is really evolving right now. I’m really excited to be in the community and see what we can do to make those community bonds stronger.

For the record, on the eighth or ninth time I pressed him, Baker said he hadn’t ruled out a return to basketball in some roles down the line. Maybe as a coach. Maybe as a coach. But don’t bother trying to get people to lace up their sneakers again.

“I’m done,” he said. “Absolutely.”

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Steve Politi can reach in Spoliti@njadvancemedia.com.