LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men's basketball freshman guard Jemarl Baker (pictured) is expected to miss the next three months after undergoing left knee surgery last week. The Wildcats are hopeful to have Baker back during conference play.
“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to join my brothers on the court to start the season but I’m looking forward to getting my knee back to 100 percent so I can help this team chase our goals,” Baker said. “I want to thank everyone for the well-wishes and I can’t wait to get back out there with the team.”
Baker arrived at Kentucky in the summer and participated in workouts. After experiencing soreness in his left knee during the preseason, Baker underwent further evaluation and was recently recommended to have surgery.
“Jemarl let us know a few weeks ago that something wasn’t feeling right with his knee,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He had surgery before he got here and it didn’t heal quite like we had hoped it would. The good news is, with this surgery we’re going to get this thing right and get Jemarl back during league play. We were hopeful he would provide us some immediate shooting, but now it’s like getting a midyear guy that can help provide us some depth as we get into the heart of our season. Our main focus at this point is getting him healthy for the rest of his career.”
Baker was tabbed as one of the premier shooters in the country coming out of high school. A consensus four-star prospect ranked among the top 100, ESPN ranked him as the 66th overall player and the 16th-best shooting guard in the class.
The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 17.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior and led Eleanor Roosevelt High School (California) to its first-ever state title. He hit 94 total 3-pointers during his senior campaign and shot 44 percent from long range as a junior, leading the Under Armour circuit in 3-pointers last summer.
UK Senior Courtney Love Named Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist
UK senior linebacker Courtney Love is one of 11 players named a semifinalist for the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy, an award that honors college football’s top community servant.
Love, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, leads the team in community service hours and has a passion for mentoring children especially those living in a one-parent household or children who have parents who are incarcerated. Because of his passion, he currently volunteers at Amachi Central Kentucky, a mentoring program that seeks to pair caring, positive adults with children and youth in the Bluegrass who have one or both parents in state or federal prison or are affected by incarceration in some way.
He also has served in a Skype mentoring program with area high school students, and has taken part in many events with the UK Children's Hospital, Read Across America, and Special Olympics, along with many other service activities. In May of 2016, Love was chosen to participate in a service/educational trip to Ethiopia where he helped build houses as well as shoe-shining boxes for men to be able to work and provide for their families. He also delivered food to impoverished families and visited with orphans and widows.
Love is also a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team which is the top college football honor for recognizing outstanding community service achievements. In addition, he is a quarterfinalist for the 2017 Lott Trophy which is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
In the classroom, Love was named to the 2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduating in May with a degree in community and leadership development. He is currently working on a second degree in communications. He also serves as one of UK football’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives for the second straight season.
The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented annually by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach Florida. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a National Selection Committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients.
The 2017 Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalists, listed alphabetically by university, are:
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State University, senior, defensive back
Daniel Carlson, Auburn University, senior, kicker
Gabe Brandner, Duke University, senior, offensive line
Brent Stocksll, Middle Tennessee State University, junior, quarterback
A.J. Cole, III, North Carolina State University, junior, punter
Harrison Phillips, Stanford University, senior, defensive line
Frank Ragnow, University of Arkansas, senior, offensive line
Courtney Love, University of Kentucky, senior, linebacker
Drue Tranquill, University of Notre Dame, senior, linebacker
Brian O'Neill, University of Pisburgh, junior, offensive line
Tommy Openshaw, Vanderbilt University, senior, kicker
The 2017 Wuerffel Trophy winner will be invited to attend "The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show" on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Dec. 7, 2017, airing at 6 p.m. EST/5 p.m. CST, featuring interviews with award winners and finalists as they approach The Home Depot College Football Awards Show, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
The presentation of the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 49th Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet on Feb. 16, 2018, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Past winners of the Wuerffel Trophy are: Rudy Niswanger (LSU-2005), Joel Penton (Ohio State-2006), Paul Smith (Tulsa-2007), Tim Tebow (Florida-2008), Tim Hiller (W. Michigan-2009), Sam Acho (Texas-2010), Barrett Jones (Alabama-2011), Matt Barkley (USC-2012), Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma-2013), Deterrian Shackelford (Ole Miss-2014), Ty Darlington (Oklahoma-2015) and Trevor Knight (Texas A&M-2016).
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught,