Shooting guard Jemarl Baker’s true freshman season did not go as planned.
After signing four-star recruit from California, Baker was supposed to immediately be an impact player for the Cats as a situational three-point shooter.
Instead, it turned into a redshirt season due to injury. Now healthy, Baker is in a position to play the critical role he was supposed to play last season.
Coming off a season where Kentucky lost their 1,047-game streak with at least one three-pointer and finished with a .355 three-point percentage that ranked 130th in the country, a healthy Baker will be a huge boost.
Baker also proved he’s far more than just a shooter this offseason. At Sunday’s Pro Day workout, Baker led all Kentucky players in lane agility and ¾-court sprint times.
Baker’s 10.24 second agility time among the best 20 ever recorded, according to ESPN.
“I didn’t know I was going to be the fastest, but I know I’m pretty quick,” Baker said of his time.
“The year off has hurt him.” Head coach John Calipari said at Media Day. “But he’s making strides, and he’s getting better. He’s getting better.”
Despite his coach saying the year off hurt him Baker is using it as motivation.
“My family, the coaching staff, the players, just everyone helping be positive and telling me to stay positive, keep smiling and be myself. I’ve just been working hard and now I’m where I want to be. I’m happy. I’ve been motivated my whole life but, the injury just put a big chip on my shoulder and I’m ready to get playing.”
A rejuvenated and healthy Jemarl Baker is a massive addition to an already loaded Kentucky team.
Expect Baker to play a significant role in helping the Cats win games this season.