People in the region know Joey Baker’s name. He was a varsity starter in the 8th grade and has been dunking, across the AAU landscape, since he was in the 7th grade. Now it is time the nation starts to get acclimated with the young man.

Freshman Joey Baker has sat back over the last couple of years and watched the success of team mate Dennis Smith Jr. The plan was for Smith to graduate this year, and Baker to step up and lead the team starting his sophomore year. Well that plan was derailed.

Smith tore his ACL and will graduate early from high school and enroll at NC State in January. Now, ahead of schedule, the torch has been passed over to the 6’6” Freshman. Make no mistake about it, Baker is ready for this. Before he started the 9th grade, Baker already carried offers from Western Carolina and Charlotte. He has had most of the ACC in his gym watching him practice, and all of this notoriety feels right.

From the onset, Joey Baker passes the look test. He stands at 6’6”, maybe stretching to 6’7”. His arms are very long as he carries a 6’9” wing span. As the game starts, Baker shows deep range with touch, off the catch. He has a high basketball IQ off the ball, and does all the little things within the half court.

However, the two traits that separate Joey Baker from the crowd are his explosion and the fact that he plays with a huge chip on his shoulder. Routinely you can find Baker attacking the basket and attempting to finish at the rim. He has drawn comparisons to “a taller Grayson Allen” or “a more aggressive Rex Pflueger”.

How about we call him the only Joey Baker.

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