The Michigan men’s basketball team has two available scholarships it can fill before the 2022-23 season, and a possible addition was reportedly in Ann Arbor on Tuesday.
Joey Bakera graduate transfer from Duke, would fill a need that Wolverines associate coach Phil Martelli pointed out earlier in the offseason:
“If you can shoot it and you’re out there, you can expect us to knock on your door,” Martelli told The Michigan Insider. The need for shooters is critical as Michigan rebuilds around Hunter Dickinson.
Baker, a former top 50 rookie, can indeed shoot. The 6-foot-6 winger made 37.9 percent of his 3-point attempts in four seasons with the Blue Devils. Throughout his college career, he attempted more triples than shots from inside the arc and free throws combined.
His best performance came last year, when he drained 40.5% of his attempts from deep.
“Joy [Baker] saved us in the first half,” Mike Krzyzewski said after a mid-February win over Florida State in which Baker scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. This match marked the 11th of his career with three or more hat-tricks.
Baker started just four of his 88 career games – and none in 2021-22, when he averaged 11.9 minutes – but was a valuable asset to the Blue Devils both as captain team and as a player who could come off the bench and drain a 3-point clutch. Limitations as a ball handler and dribbling forward limited his minutes despite his shooting prowess.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to have Joey and his family in our program for the past four years,” Krzyzewski said of Baker. “He has been a joy to coach and an excellent leader for our young men. … Any program will be lucky to have it.
Michigan could be that program. The team could definitely use a 6-foot-6 winger who can shoot, especially given the lack of experience returning to ‘2’ and ‘3’. That said, Juwan Howard and Co. cannot guarantee a starting role or extended minutes – especially considering Baker will spend the summer recovering from hip surgery – and that may make the sale difficult.
This hip ailment – of which few details have been made available – almost certainly limited Baker in the final stretch of the 2021-22 season. The Blue Devils believed he would recover in time for his fifth year.
One aspect where there would be no concern is Baker’s academic adjustment to Michigan. (“That’s a big consideration,” Martelli said, when the staff looks at the transfer portal.) Baker was on track to be his high school salute before regrading, and he earned a degree in political science. of Duke.
In his own words…
On what he’s focused on ahead of the 2021-22 season (via Duke Athletics):
I really tried to work on my defense. I want to be able to hold different positions. Offensively, I focused on playing properly without turning the ball over, being able to play against guys like Paolo and Wendell, helping out however I can. Another thing was just being more vocal, trying to have a leadership voice in the locker room, on the pitch, and really showing the younger kids how things work here and what it takes to be a good team.