Arizona Wildcats guard Jemarl Baker Jr. is out for the season with a hand injury, head Sean Miller announced Monday on his radio show.
Miller said X-rays revealed a broken bone in Baker’s wrist. He suffered the injury just two minutes into Saturday’s loss to UCLA but played through it until the second half.
Arizona’s second-leading scorer, Baker was having a career year. In 12 games, he was averaging 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting a career-high 40.3% from the field, 34.3% from 3-point range and 83.3% from the free-throw line.
Baker had been struggling of late, shooting 4 for his last 24 before his injury, but has had some huge games this season, including a 33-point outing vs. NAU and a 29-point outburst against Stanford.
Unfortunately, injuries are nothing new for him. Baker missed his freshman season at Kentucky with a torn meniscus, was limited by that injury as a redshirt freshman, and struggled with knee and hip ailments in 2019-20, his first season at Arizona.
Now his redshirt junior season is over after just a dozen games.
“Very sad in a lot of different ways,” Miller said. “The truth of the matter is we lost one of our team’s best players. We lost one of our leaders. We lost one of our leading scorers. One of the things that I think you looked at our team and felt good about is our ball handling and passing ability. I mean, there’s a reason why we played, I think, five games in a row now with 10 or fewer turnovers. I mean, Jemarl broke a school record against [NAU], making seven 3-point shots in one half, was the Pac-12 Player of the Week, scored  points against Stanford, and he’s going to be a big, big loss. We lose our depth to some degree. and now we have to be careful because until Kerr Kriisa is eligible (on Feb. 6), we have only three perimeter players.
“In a pinch we could play Tibet (Gorener) as a fourth perimeter player, but Benn Mathurin will have to slide over. Dalen (Terry), Benn, Terrell (Brown) and James (Akinjo) are our four guards with Tibet being a fifth, and then our four big guys remain intact.
“So, next man up. I know that’s what we have to do and trust me we’re moving on. The only thing that matters for us right now is to grow, improve and be ready for Oregon State and win that game. Going on the road and winning in the Pac-12 is hard. So that’s our focus, but we’re moving on without Jemarl. And as is the case with injuries, I worry more about Jemarl. He’s worked incredibly hard, sacrificed a lot, got himself in the best shape of his life. He was having a great season…and we lost a good player.”