In a surprise announcement but a decision that had been in the works for a number of weeks 2019 wing / forward Joey Baker (Fayetteville, NC) reclassified to join the 2018 class. The class already includes top prospects: small forward Cam Reddish, small forward R.J. Barrett, power forward Zion Williamson and point guard Tre Jones. Even with the impressive makeup of Duke’s 2018 class there was still a perceived lack of outside shooting on the roster, usually a staple of a Coach K team.
Beyond sophomore Alex O’Connell there were no adept outside shooters on the roster. Baker can step in and fill that role off the bench for the Devils to keep the Duke offense from being one dimensional. Baker as a junior shot 43% from beyond the arc and is shooting 40% in EYBL competition.
In addition to being a shot maker Baker is also a blue collar who is expected to be able to play both as a wing and a stretch 4. Part of the move for Baker is not necessarily for him to be an impact player this year but to have a leg up on the 2019 class, a year of practice and development will put Baker in a much better position to do so. With Duke expected to bring in a 5-7 man class for 2019 having a holdover from the previous season will be paramount.
There is still a chance that the 6’7 Baker and the coaching staff will decide that a redshirt for the incoming freshmen is the way to go but that will be likely be something that won’t be assessed until after Baker has practiced and been evaluated.
Baker is currently ranked 15th according to ESPN and 27th according to 247Sports in the 2018 class before his reclassification.