Scout - 85 (4 Stars) / ESPN Top 100 - #66
Rivals - 4 Stars #79 Overall
247 (4 Stars) #76 Overall
Jemarl Baker knows himself.
“Better than anything else, I definitely can shoot,” the 6’4” guard told Ryan Gorcey last December. Baker is an elite shooter with deep, deep range; but after watching his film, this quote explains so much about why he is a good shooter. The confidence in his self-assessment translates to confidence out on the court. He’ll shoot from anywhere. Defenders draped on him, off the dribble, coming off a baseline screen to the corner. It doesn’t matter. Baker will shoot it, he will shoot it confidently, and there’s a good chance it’s going in.
Here he is dropping 30 on Lonzo Ball’s Chino Hills team as a Junior:
Jemarl Baker has good reason to be confident in his shooting. He shows strong footwork, incredible balance, and great body control in non catch & shoot situations and a high-arcing soft touch on stand-still jumpers. His ability to square his body coming off screens, especially baseline screens to the corner where he has to whip his body around quickly is impressive and technically sound. Off the dribble, Baker has a seemingly innate sense to get the requisite lift and square his shoulders from any angle.
Potentially concerning, especially in Cuonzo Martin’s relatively motion-free offense, is the fact that Baker has a relatively long and slow release especially when the ball isn’t in his shooting pocket. Making his shooting motion more compact and efficient will be a necessary adjustment for Baker to be successful at the next level.
Despite his obvious strength in shooting the ball, the thing that stood out to me about Jemarl Baker was his body control. I talked about his balance and body control as it relates to shooting earlier, but you can see it in all facets of his game, especially on drives to the basket. Baker doesn’t have a ton of quickness, but when he does get the first step, he keeps the defender on his hip and keeps the driving lane open due to his balance and change of pace. Not once in any of his tapes do you see him playing too fast or seemingly out of control. The poise, balance, and footwork bode well for his future as he adds strength and quickness.
At this point, Baker is not overly explosive, relying more on angles and the threat of his shooting than pure athleticism, and said so much himself: “I want to really work on getting stronger, and faster, just my athletic ability."
Jemarl Baker has an elite skill and the measured fearlessness that is essential in a smart scorer. If he develops strength, quickness, and a willingness to defend, he can be a special player at the PAC-12 level.