By LARRY VAUGHT
An injury kept Jemarl Baker from being able to play his first season at Kentucky and then his second year he had to play behind Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans.
That’s why it was no surprise that he opted to transfer from Kentucky even though he had earned praise from coach John Calipari for his defensive play as well as his ability to make shots even though he had not been a prolific shooter in games.
Baker also figured to be behind Hagans, Quickley and incoming freshmen Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney this year — along with Johnny Juzang if Kentucky does land him.
Baker said he was “homesick” to be closer to home in California and cited that as a bigger reason for leaving UK than the lack of playing time.
Apparently he’s going to have plenty of chances to play closer to home, too.
Reports have surfaced on social media that Arizona, Arizona State, California, Utah, Providence, Marquette, Nebraska, San Diego State, Fresno State, St Mary’s and Santa Barbara are among the schools who have been in touch with Baker, who plans to start taking visits now that classes are finished at UK this semester.
Baker will have to sit out next season as a transfer and then have two years of eligibility remaining. However, his size, shooting capability and defensive tenacity will make him a valuable addition to a lot of programs and count me as one who still think he would have been a significant contributor at UK next season.