Jemarl Baker continues to show he deserves a significant role with this team.
After missing all of his first year and the early part of this season, the redshirt freshman has quickly turned into an asset for a Kentucky team that needed someone to step up following Quade Green’s transfer.
Thus far, Baker has not only been a legitimate three-point threat, but he’s also playing solid defense and passing the ball well.
In 13 minutes of action vs. Texas A&M, Baker had four points on 1/3 shooting with one rebound and three assists vs. just one turnover. He also had a +/- of +5, which was tied for the fourth-best on the team. It was also the third time in the last five games in which he hit a three.
Jemarl Baker rainbow corner 3 plus the foul. pic.twitter.com/tWlHqU20Wv— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 9, 2019
“I think I played well. I just got out there and played hard and played to my strengths,” said Baker after the game. “I’ve been working hard and getting better. So, I just thought I would leave it out on the court.”
The three assists led to a pair of Tyler Herro three-balls and a PJ Washington jumper in and 11-point win.
Nice cross court find in transition by Jemarl Baker to Tyler Herro for the 3. pic.twitter.com/GVgiX4Sq8y— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 9, 2019
John Calipari thinks Baker changed the complexion of a game Kentucky struggled to win.
“I thought Jemarl Baker went in and was just playing basketball,” said Calipari. “Wasn’t playing for himself. Wasn’t trying to get his. If a guy was open, he threw it to him. And guess what? It changed the whole complexion of the game.”
As much time as Baker has missed over the last year, it’s a great sign he’s even playing this well, and you have to think he’ll only get better as the season wears on.
“I knew I could (make an impact). I just try to work hard and play my game whenever I am on the court, just in practice and in the game, and I think people are just starting to notice who I really am.”
Hey Coach Cal, what did Jemarl Baker do in the 1st half?— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 9, 2019
HE PASSED! pic.twitter.com/obf3gCWeHW