Joey Baker may not have been the splashy transfer portal acquisition Terrence Shannon Jr. would have been, but he still brings a vital element to Michigan Wolverines basketball that was afternoon missed last year: three-point shooting.
Baker shot 40.5% from three last seasons in a reserve role under Coach Kat Duke. The Blue Devil captain graduated from Duke and announced his transfer to Michigan this summer.
A 6-foot-6 forward out of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Baker will look for an increased opportunity at Michigan and one last chance at an NCAA Tournament run. On Tuesday, he spoke with Brian Boesch on the “Defend the Block,” podcast put out by Michigan athletics, to give his thoughts on his career and expectations moving forward.
Boesch started out by asking the very simple question: “Why Michigan?”
“I feel comfortable here,” said Baker. “It just felt like a place where I could see myself thriving on the court and off the court. Ultimately, that’s what led to the decision — the level of comfort that I felt here, how they could help me and how I could help the team.”
As we’ve heard many times before, the family atmosphere at Michigan was very appealing. In addition, Baker was attracted to the academics of Michigan, coming from another highly regarded institution in Duke.
Boesch then hit on Baker’s experiences at Duke, particularly what it was like having a smaller role despite being a captain.
“It makes you realize that you’re a part of a team,” said Baker. “When you’re on a team you do whatever you can to make an impact. If that’s just being in the ears of your teammates and encouraging them or telling them things that you see on the court. I learned a ton through that process and navigating that over the course of my career at Duke. I’m thankful for it. I think it made me grow as a person and as a player as well.”
They also dug into Baker’s playing style and what Michigan fans can expect from him.
“(I’m) someone that’s willing to do anything that it takes to win — hustle plays, shooting the ball, scoring from different levels, attacking the basketball, mid-range. I think my biggest strength would be my three-point shooting, something that I did at Duke a ton,” Baker said. “There’s a lot more to my game that I didn’t show at Duke. I’m hoping to be able to show it this year.”
Baker will compete with Jace and Jett Howard, Isaiah Barnes, Terrance Williams, Will Tschetter, Gregg Glenn and Youssef Khayat in a wide open race for minutes at the wing. By far the most experienced of the group and one of the best shooters, Baker will look to carve out a bigger role than he had at Duke.