The most prestigious recognition given out by the Big Ten is the Medal of Honor, which marks the 108th anniversary of the award this year. It is “awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each member institution who have demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career.” On Tuesday, it was announced that Geo Baker and Taralyn Naslonski were named the recipients for Rutgers.
Baker was the face of the men’s basketball program during his career in leading Rutgers to what would have been three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament if not for Covid-19 cancelling the 2020 postseason. In addition, RU won its first NCAA Tournament game in 38 years in 2021 and finished a program best fourth place in the Big Ten this past season since joining the league in 2014. Baker finished his Rutgers career second all-time in assists (496), fourth all-time in steals (180), fifth all-time in three-pointers made (237), and eighth all-time in both points (1,654) and field goals made (599). He was also named an All-Big Ten selection each of the last three seasons.
“I am so proud of Geo Baker for being the Rutgers recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor,” said Rutgers men’s basketball head 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. Geo has been an exemplary ambassador for our program on and off the court and it couldn’t have been given to a better person. I am truly grateful to have coached Geo for the past five seasons at Rutgers and he has a bright future in whatever he decides to pursue in his career after college basketball. Geo will forever be a part of the Rutgers basketball family.”
Naslonski led Rutgers women’s lacrosse to its first ever NCAA Tournament win in 2021 and again this past season while becoming the all-time leading scorer in postseason history for the program with 22 points in four game. She also became the program’s all-time points leader (266) and goal scorer (187) while setting a single season record with points (90) this past spring as well. The All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection was also a two-time team captain.
“What an absolute honor for TT to win the Big Ten Medal of Honor, our program’s first-ever recipient,” said Rutgers women’s lacrosse head coach Melissa Lehman. “TT 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.”
Baker and Naslonski were instrumental in turning around their respective programs over the last five years. They are perfect choices to receive the Big Ten Medal of Honor for Rutgers in 2022. Their legacies as student-athletes on the banks will be remembered as two of the more storied and accomplished in Rutgers athletics history forever.
Rutgers Big Ten Medal Of Honor Award All-Time Winners
2022: Geo Baker (men’s basketball) & TT Naslonski (women’s lacrosse)
2021: Kieran Mullin (men’s lacrosse) & Gianna Glatz (field hockey)
2020: Jordan Pagano (wrestling) & Amanda Visco (women’s soccer)
2019: Anthony Ashnault (wrestling) & Sarah Johanek (rowing)
2018: Michael Rexrode (men’s lacrosse) & Casey Murphy (women’s soccer)
2017: Ken Theobold (wrestling) & Alyssa Bull (field hockey)
2016: Corey Crawford (men’s track & field) & Brianne Reed (women’s soccer)
2015: David Milewski (football) & Betnijah Laney (women’s basketball)