Today Joey Baker announced that he was going to be entering Duke as a member of the 2018 class. This comes as no surprise as the news had been making its rounds over the last couple of weeks. However, with that aside he is entering Duke after only three years of high school, in most circles that person is considered a genius, congrats to Joey.
With that said, this writing is more about the path of Joey Baker and how that path closely mirrors the growth of Phenom Hoops. Even throughout his participation on the national Under Armour Circuit with Team Felton’s 17u team, for multiple years, and his time spent with the US National Team, Baker has (unknowingly) been a part of many milestone events for Phenom Hoops, It starts back when Baker was in middle school.
Joey participated in Phenom Hoops very first AAU event, a middle school tournament called Phenom’s Hoop City Classic (#PHCC), which we had in Winston-Salem in February of 2014. There he played with the Team United 2018 team. His performance in this event led one prominent national middle school scout to write, “…at Phenom’s Hoop Cities Classic, Baker displayed a smooth jump shot…the young 8th grader made an excellent first impression.”
Fast forward to the end of 2014 and Joey Baker started for Trinity Christian, as an 8th grader, in the inaugural Phenom’s Millbrook Classic (#PhenomMillbrook). Although this event no longer exists, this was Phenom Hoops’ second high school event ever, following the National Showcase held a couple weeks earlier. This specific event possibly carried the best atmosphere of any Phenom Hoops High School event, still to this date. This event was Sold Out early as Baker was a teammate of (now Dallas Mavs rookie) Dennis Smith Jr. The named match up had Smith going against Millbrook’s point guard Chris Clemons. The entire city of Raleigh showed up as there was a line out the door and standing room only inside. While it wasn’t Baker’s turn just yet, he finished the game with 7 points and 10 rebounds…you knew he was special.
In the years since Baker has participated in numerous Phenom Hoops events, each time proving he was a special player. In 2015 we said “There is a lot of Sam Dekkar in Trinity Christian freshman Joey Baker.” He played in the inaugural Phenom’s Winter Classic in 2016. He participated in multiple Phenom’s National Showcases. He played in Phenom’s Inaugural Carmel MLK Classic. He played in Phenom Hoops’ most recent Queen City Showcase. There were so many interactions and events in between and everyone of them left a positive impact.
In 2018, Joey Baker is a consensus 5-star prospect. He is a regular at Team USA events and invitation only tryouts. And now, Baker is reclassifying to enter Duke, the school who is recruiting better than any college program in the country, a year early. However, still to this day, Baker will always take the time to speak. He will always walk up to you and shake your hand, look you in the eye and ask how things are. That is just the type of kid he is.
It has been a great run, watching Baker rise to the top. And now, his story continues and hopefully Phenom Hoops’ story is just starting as well.
Congrats and good luck Joey!