Maize&BlueReview - Everything Duke transfer Joey Baker said on the Defend the Block podcast
{{ timeAgo('2022-07-27 14:49:48 -0500') }} basketball Edit

Everything Duke transfer Joey Baker said on the Defend the Block podcast

On why he chose Michigan

I felt comfortable here. Coach Howard and the staff, the rest of the players on the team. Just felt like a place I could see myself thriving on the court, 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. Just seemed like a very good situation on both ends.

On the family feel at Michigan

I felt it right away. Some of the older guys, Hunter, Jace, I've been chatting with them a little bit leading up to coming here. Then, once I got here, meeting the rest of the team, they welcomed me. Made me feel like I had been here for months already. That was really important. New scene, new team and everything. Just being able to have that level of familiarity right away. That'll be something that we're able to fall back on during the season, being close with your teammates, trusting them and knowing that you guys have a close bond with each other. I'm excited. Everybody has been very friendly, just made me feel like this was the best spot for me.

On finding an academic fit at Michigan

I think that played into the decision as well. Michigan is a household name, household university with just great people. Obviously, basketball was the top factor in ultimately deciding where to go, Michigan and everything that comes with it is a part of it as well.

On the transfer process vs. the recruiting process in high school

I think four years at Duke, which I loved, I just had a good understanding of what type of place I was looking for. What type of situation. I had that in my mind as I went through the process, made sure I did my homework and made sure it was the right spot. You learn from the four years having been in college already and use those to make the right decision.

On his perception of Michigan from afar

I definitely kept up with Michigan. They've had some really good teams over the last couple of years, Coach Howard has had a ton of success of his early stages of his career here as a coach. I loved the way that they played and the success that they had late in the season. There's been a couple of runs in March which were really fun to watch. The Big Ten as a conference has been very strong over the past few years. Some big-time teams going into the March, April time period. Just understanding that it's a really high level as a conference. Michigan, as a basketball program, had a really good feel for that and what I was coming into.

On his leadership

I think it boils down to doing the right things day in and day out. Creating good habits on the court with your routine and the same goes for off the court, doing the right things. Over time, that kind of just accumulates. There's a lot of turnover, younger guys, helping them along with stuff you've been through as a player, as a student. Just being there, butting in whenever you notice something that you could help one of the younger guys with. That's been one of the things at Duke that I wanted to do. Especially when we had a bunch of younger guys this year. Same with this year's team, we have a pretty young and new team, just wherever I can apply my experience to situations that I have been in, things that I've learned over my time so far in college and in college basketball. Just applying those and helping the younger guys wherever I can. That might be basketball information, life outside of basketball, however that it is, just trying to be there and helping them using experiences that I've already been through and seen and learned from.

On his time at Duke

It makes you realize that you're part of a team and 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, telling them things you see on the court, I learned a ton through that process. Navigating that across my time at Duke. I'm thankful for that. It's made me grow as a person and as a player as well. I'll definitely apply the lessons that I've learned there and use them to help this year's team at Michigan. Be as good as we can, help these younger guys get acclimated and just get ready for a really, really good season of basketball this year.

On handling the spotlight after last year at Duke

It just comes down to realizing that you're playing basketball and there's a lot of outside noise. Rightfully so, coach had an incredible career and understanding that was the last season, we knew that it would be chaotic at times. We prepared for that and we put in a lot of work and stayed close as a team. Those are things that I've learned over the past 12 months since it was announced, learning how to really lean on your teammates and ultimately get what you want and a lot out of the season and what we were able to do. We didn't accomplish our end goal but we got really close. Those lessons were invaluable and incredible memories from that year. I hope that I can apply those to this year's team in a positive way and we can replicate that in some ways.

On how he describes his game

Someone that's willing to do whatever it takes to win. I like to—hustle plays, shooting the ball, scoring from different levels, attacking the basket, mid-range. I think my biggest strength would be three-point shooting. Something that I did at Duke a ton that I was called upon to do there. There's a lot more to my game that I didn't show at Duke and I'm hoping to be able to show it this year and have a really good season. Impact winning, in the locker room being the older presence and sharing some of the knowledge that I've gained in my four years at Duke and making an impact on the court. Doing the same thing, using my skillset and shooting ability and willingness to do whatever it takes to win and help us win games.

On areas he wants to improve

If you're a good defender it's hard to take you off the floor. That's one thing that I've learned over the course of my four years is that defense wins. Being a good defender, someone that can be counted on and depended on to get stops and be a solid defender is huge. That's an area I want to improve on and want to be known as someone that can be counted on to get stops and can guard other good players. That's an area I've been focusing on and preparing myself to be able to do this upcoming season. Spacing the floor and providing high-level shooting is something I would love to be able to add to this team. Shooting is another thing that teams need, especially the way that basketball is played nowadays. Just continuing to hone in on that skill and hope to bring that on to the court this year at Michigan.

On his outside shooting

It was definitely discussed as an area where I would be able to help a lot. There's so many outside factors that led to it, the need for shooting is undeniable in this day and age. Definitely played a role.

On his excitement to play with Hunter Dickinson

Hunter is a force. He's had an incredible year so far. When I first got on campus and saw him live, I didn't realize how tall he is. He's a tall guy. He's a force and he draws a ton of attention from scouting reports from other teams. I'm hoping to be able to relieve some of that pressure with my shooting and take the double-teams that he probably sees a lot of and give him more space to operate, making the defense second-guess coming and doubling down. I think we can help each other a ton. Compliment each other with my shooting and his inside presence. We have a lot of other really good players. I think we have a chance to have a really good season.

On Dickinson's passing ability

It's huge. That's definitely one thing that I noticed while watching him. Not only is his ability to pass but his willingness. He wants to make the right play. When you're facing doubles and triples, tough coverages, the right play is to pass out a good amount. That provides opportunities on the outside for players. Hoping to be able to capitalize on some of those opportunities that such a big-time player and a big-time force will create.

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