Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Jemarl Baker Jr. is back on the market.
According to Bruce Pascoe of Tucson.com, Baker is expected to enter the transfer portal once he graduates this spring. It would be the second time the current Arizona guard has hit the portal after leaving Kentucky during the 2019 offseason.
Originally a four-star Class of 2017 recruit out of Los Angeles, Baker was ranked 73rd overall and 15th among shooting guards via 247 Sports Composite. He missed his entire freshman season in Lexington while redshirting as he recovered from knee surgery.
As a redshirt freshman in 2018-19, Baker struggled to carve out a role in a Kentucky backcourt that included Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson. There were also rumors Baker was homesick and wanted to be closer to home, so it was no surprise when he entered the portal the ensuing offseason and wound up in the PAC-12.
After getting spot duty in his first season in Tucson, Baker emerged as one of Arizona’s top players this past season. He averaged 12.0 points, 2.8 boards and 1.8 assists in 29.4 minutes per game while shooting 40.3% from 3-point range. His best outing came against Northern Arizona on Dec. 7, as the 6-5 guard scored 33 points while hitting 7/9 3-pointers. He also went for 29 points while hitting 8/13 from deep against Stanford on Dec. 19.
Unfortunately, Baker suffered a broken wrist in early January that led to him missing the rest of the season.
I would imagine Baker will look to transfer to another West Coast team, even though Kentucky sure could use a 40% 3-point shooter like him. Maybe he’ll end up at UCLA and team up with fellow former Cat Johnny Juzang, though there’s been no indication yet as to which schools are interested.
For what it’s worth, Baker was committed to Cal when Cuonzo Martin was still the Bears’ head coach. But once Martin left for Missouri, Baker decommitted and wound up at Kentucky.