The sound shook the walls of the media interview room. As BYU's head coach Dave Rose and Matt Carlino came to the podium it was impossible to block out the chanting from the Shockers' locker room on the other side of the wall.
"MVP...MVP...MVP!" The muffled chant continued as Dave was asked about how much trouble WSU's redshirt sophomore guard Ron Baker gave the Cougars.
"He's a really good player," Rose said. "I think when it came to possessions where they kind of got stuck at the end
of play, if it was a big shot or a drive and a kick, or even a big offensive rebound, he made really big plays for '
them. We had a really hard time with him. His size and his physical presence and of course his skill level is really good."
That's who they were chanting for. As the Shockers received their champions' trophy, Baker also received a
personal award: Tournament MVP.
"Anytime you can win as a team and hit a personal goal to make your family, friends and teammates proud of you, it's always nice," Baker said. "But we are about one team and playing as one unit. We're not individuals."
Baker had definitely earned it. He was easily the most physical player in the tournament and in the Shockers'battle with the Cougars in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship he was clutch. He led WSU with 23 points and every moment they needed a momentum shift Baker was there to spark it.
"He goes to the line 11 times, as Haws does, and knocks all 11 down," WSU Coach Gregg Marshall said. "He runs the point, he runs the two,and he didn't shoot the ball great tonight. There were many times I thought man that ball was going in because that's Baker's shot. But his defense and his steadiness are certainly things that are probably beyond his years as a sophomore."
He's climbed from the bottom and is enjoying the view from the top but he hasn't let it get to his head. Baker found his parents in the crowd and pulled up a chair to stand on and reach them. He handed his MVP trophy to his Mom and hugged his Dad, reminding every Shocker fan that Ron Baker is still just the hometown hero from Scott City who refuses to forget his roots.
"Yea, I gave all my stuff to my Mom when I exited the arena today," Baker said. "I don't like having my rewards in Wichita. Scott City is a little safer place I think."