Fans that remember Maurice Baker from his days as an all-state guard at Madison High School will probably not be surprised to learn the player known as "Reecey" and "Mo" is still playing basketball.
Baker once dropped 50 points on Venice in a regional game as a senior.
But the surprising part may be that at 33 years old, the former Oklahoma State star is still a productive guard with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA's Developmental League.
While he's had two brief stints in the NBA during 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trai Blazers, the 6-foot-1 Baker is still chasing his dream of earning an NBA roster spot.
"Basketball is my life, so I'm just going to keep playing until the wheels fall off," Baker said Wednesday. "There's a lot of people that want to play in the league and only the top people can play here. It's good for me to keep showcasing my talents."
Baker still believes he will play in the NBA again.
"Everyone has the same dream," he said. "The ultimate goal is getting called up."
The Santa Cruz franchise is located about 45 minutes from Oakland and is affiliated with the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
"That's the thing about Mo, I never think about his age ever because he plays like a youthful kid," Santa Cruz Warriors coach Nate Bjorkgren told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "He loves the game. He plays it with passion and that's one of his gifts. In my opinion, he keeps getting better."
Baker has been in the D-League and the old Continental Basketball Association so long he's one of its more recognizable faces. To be playing at an extremely high level against much younger players has to be difficult, right?
"It says a lot," Baker said. "I'm trying to take care of my body and do the right things, eat right and do what it takes. It means a lot to me to still be playing at a high level right now.
"I think there's probably only five or six guys older than me. I've seen a lot of talent come and go."
Baker has also seen a lot of the world with a basketball in his hands.
During the CBA and now NBA D-League offseason he plays for various club teams around the globe and has been on the court in countries like Syria, Puerto Rico, France, Lithuania, the Phillipines, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
"Last summer I was down in the Dominican Republic and won a championship down there," Baker said.
He is averaging 5.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for Santa Cruz. It's the lowest scoring average in seven years for Baker, who averaged 18.2 points for Dakota in 2007-08 and was still in double-figures from 2007 through last season.
"My scoring is down because I'm sacrificing for the team," Baker said. "It's like I'm like coaching on the floor, leading these guys and making sure they know how to play basketball."
Before his pro career, Baker helped lead Madison to the 1997 Class A state tournament .
He earned junior-college All-American honors at Dixie College in Utah before moving on to play two seasons at Oklahoma State. He earned first-team All-Big 12 honors while also being named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Baker has suited up for five NBA games, but is still looking for his first basket.
Now in his seventh pro season, Baker spent much of that time with the CBA's Dakota Wizards in Bismarck, N.D., a team he helped win a league championship in 2008.
"I actually miss the fans a lot because there was a lot of support down there," Baker said.
Baker averaged nearly 14 points in five seasons with Dakota. That included a memorable 41-point performance against Iowa in January 2008.
Baker has played with and befriended numerous players who have gone on to NBA careers of varying lengths, including Chris Johnson of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Roughly 25 percent of all NBA players have spent some time in the D-League. Baker isn't ready to end his career, but has contemplated his next basketball chapter and could be looking at coaching.
"I've had a good life with this basketball," he said. "There will come a time when I have to hang it up, but I still have to do something with basketball, though."