Wittenberg’s Larry Baker

Wittenberg great Baker to join Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame

Graham grad holds Witt record for points scored in a game

The 1967 Graham High School grad and 1971 Wittenberg grad Baker, 69, owns the Wittenberg record for most points scored in a game (48). He made 267 field goals in the 1970-71 season, another mark that still stands. He ranks sixth in career points (1,627).

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Baker, an Associated Press Little All-America second-team selection in 1971, is one of the Wittenberg’s all-time greats, and he’ll join a growing list of Wittenberg alums who have been inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Columbus on Saturday.

“I always said tradition dripped off the walls at Wittenberg University,” Baker said. “We learned how to play at Graham, and we learned how to win at Wittenberg. It was a great experience. This is a great honor to not only me but to my teammates and my coaches and my family. It’s a great exclamation point to a great time in my life.”

Wooster coach Steve Moore, a Wittenberg graduate who played with Baker, will also be inducted Saturday. They join former Wittenberg coach Bill Brown, who was inducted in 2018, as well as former Wittenberg men’s basketball coaches Ray Mears (2006 class), Eldon Miller (2009), Larry Hunter (2016) and Bob Hamilton (2017) and women’s coach Pam Evans Smith (2011). Al Thrasher, a 1964 Wittenberg graduate, was inducted in 2008.

Baker, a 6-foot-2 guard, played his first three years for Miller and his last season with Hamilton.

“Eldon and Bobby both were excellent fundamentalists on and off the court and taught us a lot,” Baker said.

Baker’s most memorable game came against West Liberty State on Feb. 17, 1970, during his junior season. He scored 48 points by making a school-record 22 field goals and taking a school-record 42 shots. All the marks still stand.

Baker scored 40 points a week earlier as the Tigers beat Eastern Michigan 101-80. After that game, Springfield Sun sports writer Dan Hoyt asked Baker when the school record of 46, which was set by Terry Deems in 1957, would be broken.

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“I said the next time we play at home,” said Baker, who was true to his word.

Baker is surprised the record still stands. He owns four of the top-15 points totals in Wittenberg history.

“It is amazing, especially with the advent of the 3-point shot,” Baker said. “We didn’t have the 3-point line back then, but what we did have was every time a foul was called, we shot one shot until 1-and-1. They changed that rule to take it out of bounds. We had one-on-one defense, one-on-one offense. They didn’t help as much as far as the defense was concerned. If you were a pretty good offensive player, you could beat your man almost every time. I think the rules today are the best for both the players, the coaches and the fans.”

After Wittenberg, Baker lived and worked in Springfield for 35 years as a financial and estate planner with Baker-Krizner. He sold his practice and building in recent years and now lives with his wife Jane on the northeast side of Indian Lake.

“It’s kind of our vacation home,” Baker said. “It’s like being on vacation every day. It’s really nice.”

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