Rutgers saw two of its graduating student-athletes honored on Tuesday, with Geo Baker and Taralyn Naslonski being awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The medal is awarded to a male and female athlete from each Big Ten school’s graduating class that “have demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career.”
Baker was a key part of the resurgence of the men’s basketball program, taking a leadership role as captain and helping the Scarlet Knights win in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1983.
The point guard finishes as one of the best players in the history of the program with top-10 all-time totals in assists, steals, three-pointers, points and field goals.
Baker is the only player in program history to win two Big Ten Player of the Week awards along with being selected to an all-conference team three times in his career on the Banks. He has also made an impact off of the court, becoming one of the leading voices in helping name, image and likeness rules get passed in order for collegiate athletes to receive payments through sponsorships.
“I am so proud of (Baker) for being the Rutgers recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor,” said head men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell. “He is the first men’s basketball player at Rutgers to win the award and my first player to receive this honor ... (Baker) will forever be a part of the Rutgers basketball family.”
While Baker is one of the best players in the history of the basketball team, Naslonski can stake a claim as the best women’s lacrosse player in Rutgers history.
She ended her collegiate career as the all-time leader in points and goals for the program. In 2022, she set a record with 90 points during the season and also broke the postseason record with 22 points in four NCAA Tournament games.
Naslonski, often called “TT” by teammates and coaches, also was a captain who helped lead the Knights to multiple NCAA Tournament appearances. 2021 saw the first-ever tournament win for the program, and the team followed up this feat with another win the next year.
“What an absolute honor for (Naslonski) to win the Big Ten Medal of Honor, our program’s first-ever recipient,” said head women’s lacrosse coach Melissa Lehman. “(Naslonski) bleeds scarlet, and I could not be more proud of her for the impact she has had in elevating our program on the national level.”
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