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Joey Baker On Leadership And New Duke Teammates

Now a junior, Baker’s role on this team is changing

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Boston College
 Feb 4, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Joey Baker (13) shoots against Boston College Eagles forward CJ Felder (0) during the second half at Conte Forum. 
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Right on cue, junior Joey Baker is stepping into a leadership role for Duke. With six freshmen and two sophomores on the roster, and just one senior (not counting transfer Patrick Tapé, Duke need its returning players to step up. And Baker gets it, telling WRAL that “I think I’ve always been a guy that leads by example more than vocal. Working hard every day, competing every day, bringing enthusiasm when talking and kind of showing what needs to be done on a daily basis.”

Part of that is also self-improvement and Baker says he knows what he needs to work on: “I think all areas of my game needed improvement, and they still do. But I’d say defensively, I wanted to improve a lot. Being able to defend and stay on the court for long periods of time without fouling – that was a big area of focus over the quarantine and the time we had off.”

We’ve been curious about how Coach K would approach the whole pandemic thing and Baker kind of hints at that too, pointing to being able to spend more time together and getting to know each other in different ways as a real positive.

He said it, but you can kind of imagine Coach K saying pretty much the same thing.