Sharpshooting redshirt freshman Jemarl Baker’s status is apparently unknown for Kentucky’s trip to the Bahamas next week. The Wildcats will play four exhibition games at Atlantis before they return to Lexington for the start of the 2018 fall semester.
Fans were probably under the impression they’d get their first look at potentially the second “Platoon” team under head coach John Calipari. However, Calipari said during Wednesday’s media event that Baker “hasn’t practiced for, probably, four or five days.”
Cal went on to explain (briefly) that Baker’s knee has become swollen, reasoning to the fact as to why he hasn’t been practicing.
Calipari added that despite Baker’s injury, the rest of the team has been “pretty good” in regards to health.
Baker missed all of last season and hardly practiced due to a knee procedure he had during last year’s preseason. He was a highly regarded recruit and boasted a skill for shooting that last year’s team desperately missed.
This year, while Kentucky has added another sharpshooter in Tyler Herro, Baker has had a year at Kentucky to train while rehabbing and knows what Calipari is going to expect each day. Baker was reportedly shooting the lights out earlier this summer, according to Quade Green.
As far as the “Platoon” system, if Baker has to wait into the fall before he can see live game action on the hardwood, the “Platoon” may have to wait as well. With Baker out, this gives Kentucky a rotation of Ashton Hagans, EJ Montgomery, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Nick Richards, PJ Washington, Reid Travis, Herro and Green.
While there are many reasons to be excited about that lineup alone, the addition of Baker adds a much-needed position of shooting and playmaking.
This could also all be precautionary and we may indeed see our first glimpse of the “Platoon” team as early as next week. However, only time will tell.