Kentucky Sports Radio will preview every player heading into UK’s Bahamas trip, which starts on August 8th. The complete schedule can be found here and all games are on SEC Network.
Basics: Jemarl Baker is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Menifee, Calif. Baker helped lead his team to a state championship and averaged 17.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior in high school. He hit 94 threes during his senior season in high school, and although it’s a different level of competition, Kevin Knox led UK last season with 57 made three-pointers. For comparison sake, Jodie Meeks leads UK single season three-point record with 117 made threes back during the 2008-2009 season.
Baker committed to California but decommitted when Cuonzo Martin left the program to take over at Missouri. A week later Kentucky offered and the following week Baker committed without visiting UK. He picked the Cats over Cal, Arizona, Oregon and Marquette.
2017-2018: Baker underwent knee surgery in October and missed the 2017-2018 season. Baker started working out in January and is expected to be 100 percent for the upcoming season and the trip in the Bahamas.
Bahamas Expectations: This is a big stage for Baker. Early reports from summer practice is Baker is a bit behind, but if he could go into the four games into the Bahamas and showcase his ability to hit from deep then the Cats may have no choice but to play him during the season. Baker still needs to learn how to adjust to the college game, plus he needs to shake off the rust from missing an entire season of basketball. It shouldn’t come as a surprise he’s more behind than other players, even the freshmen, but the Bahamas presents a bigger opportunity for Baker than potentially any other player on the team.
I expect Baker to get plenty of opportunities in the Bahamas but no one really knows exactly what to expect. Few UK recruiting gurus, if any, watched a lot of Baker as a high school player because we wasn’t recruited by the Cats until April of 2017 and committed just a week later. Baker needs to show he can hit threes and that will give UK’s coaches something to consider.
T.J.’s Player Preview Schedule (click the player’s name to read previous posts):
July 24th: Reid Travis
July 25th: P.J. Washington
July 26th: Jemarl Baker
July 27th: Nick Richards
July 30th: Quade Green
July 31st: E.J. Montgomery
August 1st: Tyler Herro
August 2nd: Immanuel Quickley
August 3rd: Keldon Johnson
August: 6th: Ashton Hagans
August 7th: Walk-ons