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John Calipari and Jemarl Baker comment on transfer decision

“We’ll always be here for him.”

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are losing Jemarl Baker Jr. to transfer.

Not long after it was revealed he was exploring transfer opportunities, Baker and the school confirmed that he will indeed continue his basketball career elsewhere.

Even so, Baker is still grateful for his time in Lexington and being part of the Big Blue Nation.

“I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for supporting me during my two years at Kentucky,” Baker said in a press release. “You are truly the best fans in the country and I’ve enjoyed my time here wearing the Blue and White. ”However, after talking with Coach Cal, the staff and my family, I feel it’s in my best interest to continue my academic and basketball career elsewhere. I’ve made life-long relationships with my brothers and the staff at Kentucky and have improved so much as a player. I’m thankful for the opportunities it’s given me to be a part of this historic program.”

Head coach John Calipari is a big believer in Baker, who played big minutes in several big games down the stretch for Kentucky, including the NCAA Tournament win over Wofford.

“We haven’t had many players leave us but in all cases we stay in touch and continue to try to help,” Calipari said in a press release. “In Jemarl’s case, his injury in his first year and even the early part of this year set him back a little bit, but I still believe he’s an impact player who can score and defend. He’s a better defender than people give him credit for, and we knew we could play him this season in any situation because we knew he was always going to defend. I appreciate everything he did for this program. Like any kid that leaves us, I’ll be watching his career from afar. We’ll always be here for him.”

It’s hard to say goodbye to a player who only played on season after redshirting in 2017-18, but hopefully, Baker will find what he’s looking for in his next adventure.