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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rider coach Kevin Baggett has fond memories of Kansas trip

Rider coach Kevin Baggett visited Kansas when he was being recruited in high school. (John Blaine Photo)

By Kyle Franko
@kj_franko on Twitter

Lawrenceville >> The last time Kevin Baggett was on campus at the University of Kansas, Larry Brown was in charge of the Jayhawks, Prince was on top of the music charts and he was a wide-eyed high schooler venturing outside his native New Jersey.

That was 1984.

Baggett was a highly-rated prospect coming out of Burlington county and took an official visit to Lawrence. He recalled sitting in a box during the football game against Oklahoma with his host, legendary Jayhawk Danny Manning.

He remembered watching a 2-5 Kansas team upset No. 2 Oklahoma then quarterbacked by freshman Troy Aikman.

“They tore the goalposts down,” Baggett said. “It was unbelievable.”

Baggett eventually settled on St. Joseph’s, a school closer to his native Jersey roots, but he fondly recalled his trip to the Midwest and perhaps what could have been.

“They actually won the NCAA tournament (in 1988) with Danny being there for those four years, so I missed out on it,” Baggett said.

Now in his third season at Rider, Baggett brings his club to the school he almost attended when the Broncs challenge No. 5 Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse Monday night (8 p.m., ESPN3, 107.7 FM The Bronc) in an out-bracket game of the Orlando Classic.

“I’m just looking forward to getting these guys there and seeing all the history at Kansas,” Baggett said. “We just don’t go on a trip, we’re going to enjoy it and see things. This is an experience for these guys. I want them to enjoy it.”

While Baggett wants his team to enjoy the experience, he also made it clear they’re not going to be a doormat for the Jayhawks (1-1), who have had a week to stew on a 32-point loss to Kentucky.

“We have nothing to lose, but we’re going out there to win,” Baggett said. “That’s our mindset. That’s why we scheduled it. This team is good enough to go and compete with those guys. That’s why we did this schedule.”

Rider (2-1) has won two straight following an opening-night loss to Princeton, but this trip to Kansas comes at the start of a daunting week, which includes a game against Michigan State Thursday in Orlando.

Not that the Broncs aren’t embracing the challenge.

“For me personally, I grew up watching those teams on TV from back home,” said junior guard Teddy Okereafor, who poured in 29 points in the victory over Lehigh. “It’s almost a dream come true to play those big schools. We’re the underdog, we don’t have anything to lose. We’re also confident in our abilities, and we play basketball, too, so it’s not like we’re going out there to get beat.”

Okereafor, a transfer from VCU, has been Rider’s best player through the first three games, averaging 15.7 points per game.

The Jawhawks have a pair of players — Frank Mason and Wayne Seldon — averaging 9.5 points per game. Kansas managed only 40 points in its loss to Kentucky.

“This will help us get better,” Baggett said. “(It) helps us get ready for the (MAAC) when you have a chance to go and play these teams and play on that stage.”


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