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MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND adds transfer from Albany

The UND men's basketball program is setting up to have a distinctive Twin Cities feel the next few years. On Monday, UND announced the addition of Albany transfer Wheeler Baker--a Minneapolis native--to the program for the 2015-16 season. Baker, ...

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The UND men's basketball program is setting up to have a distinctive Twin Cities feel the next few years.

On Monday, UND announced the addition of Albany transfer Wheeler Baker-a Minneapolis native-to the program for the 2015-16 season.

Baker, a 6-foot-2 outside shooter, is finishing his freshman season at Albany. He'll redshirt next season and have three years of eligibility remaining.

UND recruited Baker out of high school at Osseo High School, but the best recruiting pitch came from friend and future teammate Geno Crandall, who redshirted this past season at UND.

"A lot of things went in to my decision, but one of the biggest was a good friend of mine, Geno," Baker said. "I played with him in high school, and we had a good connection."

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Crandall and Baker grew up playing together in youth basketball and were teammates for a couple of years at De La Salle before Baker transferred to Osseo.

Baker came on a visit last weekend before delivering his commitment.

"It seems like a good feel," Baker said. "The guys like each other and the coaches. Everyone has a hunger. They want to be very good. I'm excited."

Baker joins a group of former Minneapolis area standouts who are expected to make a big impact in the next few years for UND, including Quinton Hooker and Carson Shanks.

"I played Quinton twice a year for two years in high school," Baker said of the former Minnesota Mr. Basketball at Park Center High School. "He's an exciting player. He's very unselfish. He sees the floor better than anyone I've seen. I had never spoken to him directly before my visit. His reputation is that he's a good guy and it's truth. Those guys are just good people."

Baker said he's open to play any of the guard positions and is actually looking forward to his one season on the bench, where he hopes to hone his skills.

"We recruited him out of high school, and he has strong relationships with a few players currently on our team," UND coach Brian Jones said. "He is a very talented young man, both athletically and academically and will bring a shooting and scoring dynamic that we need to strengthen our lineup."

Baker appeared in 30 games during his true freshman season at Albany, averaging 5.6 points per game as a reserve. Baker, who scored in double figures seven times, scored a career-high 21 points at Maine (Jan. 31).

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Baker had five points in seven minutes of play during the No. 14 Danes' 69-60 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. The Danes were playing in their third straight NCAA tournament.

"He was able to participate in the NCAA tourney this past season, so he brings the knowledge of what it takes to get there and the sacrifices needed to achieve that goal to our locker room," Jones said. "I truly feel UND's future is extremely bright."

As a prep at Osseo, Baker averaged 19 points per game during his career for the Orioles and was an all-state first team selection as a senior.

Baker averaged 26 points per game as a senior, leading Osseo to a 46-10 record in his final two seasons.

UND women net first commit of 2016 class

The UND women's basketball team has also been busy on the recruiting trail.

UND recently received a commitment from 6-foot-2 center Ally Gorres, who attends Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn.

Gorres, a junior, is UND's first commitment of the 2016 recruiting class. She averaged a little more than 8 points per game as a junior.

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"I attended a (UND) game, and it was awesome to see the fight they had when things weren't going their way," Gorres said. "The atmosphere was phenomenal. I'm extremely excited."

Gorres, who's also a sprinter in track, chose UND over offers from the University of Denver and Valparaiso University.

"I like to use my speed in the post," said Gorres, who finished seventh in the 100 meters at last year's Minnesota Class AA state track meet. "I like to face the basket. I'm working on my back to the basket, but really my go-to is to face up."

Related Topics: UND SPORTSUND BASKETBALL
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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