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Vincent (Vin) Lamont Baker (born November 23, 1971, in Lake Wales, Floridamarker) is a former Americanmarker professional basketball player in the NBA. He appeared in four consecutive All-Star Game before his career was troubled by alcoholism.

Basketball career

High School and College

Baker played for Old Saybrook High School in Old Saybrook, Connecticutmarker. Even though he had an impressive senior season, he was still considered lanky and undersized for a big man. Thus, he was passed over by the bigger Division I schools and signed a scholarship offer from the University of Hartfordmarker Hawks.

As one of 8 newcomers in 1989, Baker's college career started slow, averaging on 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, enough for a spot on the North Atlantic Conference All-Rookie Team. Things changed drastically during Baker's sophomore season; now as a starter, Baker averaged 19.7ppg and 10.4rpb and a First Team All-NAC spot. As a junior, Baker averaged 27.6 ppg (2nd in the country), 9.9 rpg, and 3.7 blocks per game (5th in the country), though the team finished with an abysmal 6-21 record. Entering his final season, Baker was called by Sports Illustrated, "America's Best-Kept Secret." Baker averaged 28.3ppg (4th in the country) and finished with 792 points in only 28 games, a conference record that still remains in the NAC (now America East Conference). He finished with 2,238 points, a school record that still stands. However, Baker was not able to translate his immense scoring abilities into team success, as none of his teams ever made the NCAA tournament, and the best his Hartford teams ever finished in a season was .500 (14-14)

Baker’s jersey (#42) hangs on the east wall of Chase Arena in the Reich Family Pavilion.

Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics

After a college career at the University of Hartfordmarker, not far from where he grew up in Old Saybrook, Baker was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 8th pick of the 1993 NBA Draft. After four seasons with the Bucks, he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics following the 1996–97 NBA season in a three-team deal that sent Tyrone Hill and Terrell Brandon to the Bucks, and Shawn Kemp and Sherman Douglas to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After four years in Seattle, Baker was traded to the Boston Celtics with Shammond Williams for Kenny Anderson, Vitaly Potapenko and Joseph Forte.

Boston Celtics and New York Knicks

While his career averages include 15.1 points per game, his numbers had dropped considerably in recent years. After the 1998-99 NBA lockout season, Baker's weight ballooned to near 300 pounds and his game suffered tremendously. While Baker was able to get his weight down to around 250, Baker revealed that he was a recovering alcoholic who used to binge in hotel rooms and at home after playing poorly. In an interview in the Boston Globe, Baker said Celtics coach Jim O'Brien smelled alcohol on him in practice and confronted him about it. The team suspended him and he was eventually released. Baker would sign with the New York Knicks shortly thereafter and help them reach the playoffs in the 2003-04 NBA season.

Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers

Baker was traded to the Rockets with Moochie Norris for Maurice Taylor on February 24, 2005. The Rockets would ultimately release Baker on October 7, 2005.[171386] He would spend the 2005-06 NBA season in a reserve role with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Baker signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 1, 2006, reuniting him with head coach Dwane Casey, who served as an assistant coach when Vin was in Seattle. His tenure in Minnesota would be short-lived though, Baker was released from the Timberwolves on November 13, 2006. He never played in a regular season game after being on the inactive list for the first six games.

Other enterprises

Baker was also a morning show DJ of Houstonmarker-based radio station KPTY-FMmarker (Party 104.9) and has opened a seafood restaurant featuring Seafood by chef Todd Curtis in his hometown of Old Saybrook, CT. (Currently a bank is foreclosing this restaurant).

Vin Baker also has a non-profit foundation called the Stand Tall Foundation. The Stand Tall Foundation is an organization that helps give kids a better future by financially assisting with different charitable and volunteer organizations. The goal of the Stand Tall Foundation is to help young people with their education, personal development and general well-being.

Personal life

On June 19, 2007, Baker was arrested in Norwich, Connecticutmarker for drunk driving after leaving Foxwoods Resort Casinomarker.

On June 21, 2008 ml-implode.com reported Baker's . Old Saybrook, Connecticut home was foreclosed and put up for sale for $2.3 million. The house was purchased by U.S. Bank for $2.5 million at an auction on June 28, 2008.

Notes

  1. Athletes Who Damaged Their Careers With Drug Abuse
  2. [1]
  3. Baker stopped for driving erratically, failed field sobriety test. Posted June 19, 2007
  4. Vin Baker Joins List Of Athlete Home Foreclosures. CNBC.com July 1, 2008
  5. The Famous and Foreclosured Trutv.com, Retrieved December 22, 2008


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