Northeast Kansas Roots for WSU Guard

In St. Mary’s, Kansas, far from the bright lights of the Final Four in Atlanta, are some of the biggest Wichita State Shocker fans.

You’ll find them inside DeVader Liquor Shop where there’s a discount to be had on Shocktop beer.

“31 cents off there,” said Rob DeVader. “That’s his number, 31.”

If you’ve been following this year’s NCAA tournament you may have heard of DeVader’s nephew, Ron Baker.

The redshirt freshman guard starts for the Cinderella story Shockers.  Baker made four three point field goals in the Shocker’s upset win over number one seed Gonzaga March 23.  Baker scored nine points and played 33 minutes when WSU beat Ohio State to earn a spot in the Final Four.  “For me that’s goose bumps,” said DeVader.

Devader’s youngest sister is Baker’s mother; he says they grew up about seven miles northeast of Emmet.  But Ron’s is Scott City’s favorite son.  The town’s mayor declared March 28, Ron Baker day, his high school held a pep rally in his honor.  St. Mary’s holds a special place in his heart explained DeVader, “He goes down and sees his grandma.”

As grandmothers tend to be, Catherine DeVader is her grandson’s biggest fan.  She painted her nails black and yellow and Ron’s number 31 on her thumbs.  She’s not traveling to Atlanta for the Final Four, “But I’ll be there in heart,” said DeVader.

Heart is something there’s a lot of in this family said Ron’s aunt Lorretta, “I’m so proud of that kid, it’s incredible.”

Loretta’s arranged a watch party at Catherine’s nursing home. “You can’t imagine the feeling I have inside of me.”  Anticipation, nerves, and as Rob thinks about 4:00 a.m. flight to Atlanta Saturday, a little shocked.

But there they are and you can bet Ron Baker will have a home town cheering section in the stands and where ever his grandmother is.

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