Photo by Keyli Chisesi | Go Big Blue Country
Kentucky fans anxiously waited for Kentucky guard Jemarl Baker to put the ball in the basket and it finally happened late in the Wildcats 88-61 victory vs. Utah at Rupp Arena.
Baker, a 6-4, 182-pound redshirt freshman, missed all of last season and the first eight games of this season due to a knee injury. Baker was injured during preseason practice leading up to the 2017-2018 season and suffered multiple set backs since then.
The Menifee, California native returned to the practice floor a couple of weeks ago and is still working his way into playing shape. He made his Kentucky debut last week in an overtime loss to Seton Hall, playing one minute in the first half at Madison Square Garden. While he didn’t take a shot in the loss vs. the Pirates, his Rupp Arena debut will be one to remember.
“I kind of forgot the last four to five minutes that I had Jemarl because I was trying a rotation,” said John Calipari. “Again, you have to understand Jemarl’s practiced about two to two and a half weeks with us, in the last two years.
Baker played a total of six minutes on Saturday, knocking down both three-point attempts, both sending the Rupp Arena crowd into cheers.
With Quade Green no longer on the team after deciding to transfer, Kentucky is down to Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyler Herro in the backcourt. The SEC schedule is long and Kentucky will need Baker’s silky smooth jumper this season.
“He’s practiced really well the last couple of weeks,” said Calipari. “What I told him is you’re in the game to score baskets – he went in the game and he scored baskets. I would have put him in earlier but I forgot he was on the bench.”
Baker and the Wildcats will return to action vs. North Carolina on Saturday, December 22nd at the United Center in Chicago. Tip-off is slated for 5:15 p.m. ET. on CBS.