High school basketball talent has descended upon San Diego for this week’s Under Armour Holiday Classic. On Saturday I made my way over to Escondido High School to see Aztecs 2017 recruit, shooting guard Jemarl Baker.
Baker is a 6’3” junior from Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Currently he is a three-star prospect who has a top three of California, San Diego State, and Southern California. Even though it is early in his recruitment our current CPI for Baker is 35%.
Eleanor Roosevelt dominated Mission Prep 95-64 with a relentless press and fast break points. They were so dominant that Baker didn’t see much of the floor in the second half.
Baker finished the game with 16 points on 6-7 shooting, including 3-3 from behind the arc. The biggest takeaway is he is able to get his shot off quickly. Most of his points came off catch and shoot jumpers. His release is quick and nearly all of his makes were contested. At times he can bring the ball up when necessary, however he is definitely better suited to play the shooting guard role. Defensively he is tenacious, a quality that suits San Diego State’s style. His team presses quite a bit and you can see Baker play with aggression on the defensive side of the ball.
There are a lot of areas in which Baker needs to improve at this stage of his development. First, he’s pretty small and thin for the shooting guard position. At 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, he needs to add mass to his frame in order to play at the next level. Another thing I noticed in this game is how he picked up unnecessary fouls during the pace of play. He spent a lot of time on the bench late in the second quarter and was pulled out early in the third due to foul trouble. With college basketball calling fouls more tightly he is going to need to be able to stay on the floor better. Finally growing more comfortable with the ball in his hand will help improve his game. Even though he’s not panicky with the ball, you can definitely see that he prefers to catch the ball and shoot.
At this point in his development Baker is coming along as a good prospect. I really like how quickly he gets his shot off and could definitely see that as a benefit to the Aztecs. Plus add to the fact that he is already being asked to defend the ball aggressively, he seems like a perfect prospect for the Aztecs to follow. His areas of improvement are common at his age and if he can continue growing his craft then he will continue being a player that the Aztecs will need to keep an eye on.