Devin Booker staying the course despite major attention

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devin_booker[1]To say Devin Booker’s recruitment is “blowing up” right now would be a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually been blowing up for a while.

Two years ago Booker was just one of 60 kids in the underclassmen session of Michigan’s College Practice Camp. Few in the state knew much about him but his big performance in Ann Arbor would be the start of things to come. Since June of 2010, Booker has gone from unknown to five star and has college coaches lining up for his services.

The 6-foot-5 Grand Rapids native has been impressing everyone on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging over 17 points per game for the Alabama Challenge. However, there is one area Booker would like to see improvement in, according to his blog: turnovers.

“I personally want to cut down my turnovers,” Booker wrote. “I felt like I had way too many turnovers in the last session.”

While Booker is focusing on areas of his game he can improve, college coaches across the country are noticing what he does well. Michigan continues to be a very active player in his recruitment.

Booker looks at a couple different factors when evaluating a team like Michigan, and don’t think last season’s success went unnoticed by arguably the Wolverines’ highest-priority recruit.

“You want to see teams win and making it to the National Championship is everybody’s goal and they did that,” Booker said in Dallas for the third session of Nike’s EYBL. “You also want to look at your position and how they utilized the player at your position, and they’re doing a pretty good job of that.”

Michigan has been recruiting Booker since he was in eighth grade, but the Wolverines have recently encountered some especially visible competition in their recruitment of the talented swingman.

Name a school with a rich basketball history and a winning tradition and they probably have a scholarship waiting for Booker. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida have all offered scholarships.

But Booker says the one school that’s noticeably stepped up has been John Calipari and Kentucky.

“Kentucky has bumped it up a lot,” Booker wrote in his blog. “At first I thought it was just minor interest, but then I got the offer and now Coach Calipari is basically the one that’s doing the recruiting. That’s who I mostly talk to on the phone.”

With that being said, Michigan remains squarely in the running. Booker is planning on going to a few camps this summer: NBPA Top 100, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and LeBron James’s camps are all on the docket. As of now, Booker said Michigan’s College Practice Camp on June 1st is a maybe on his schedule.

“I’m not sure [if I can make it to camp],” Booker reported. “I think they mentioned it to me. If I’m up there (in Michigan) and have no camp or anything else, I might go.”

Booker has always emphasized enjoying the process of his high-level recruitment, and that’s not going to change. He “loves” playing on the EYBL circuit and doesn’t have any plans to trim his list until after the summer.

“I don’t have any timeframe right now, but probably after the summer is when I might actually cut it down of some sort,” Booker said. “And then I’ll go from there.”

Chris O’Dell of the Star Local News contributed to this report.

  • gpsimms

    I will be shocked if he winds up at Michigan

    • mikey_mac

      Yeah, even if he considers UM on par with the likes of Duke, UK, UF, etc., which is quite possible, that’s still only like a 1 in 5 chance.

    • cameron brooks

      i agree.. considering we are fighting against UK UF Duke and UNC all 4 are MAJOR power houses. id say we could beat out UNC and Gators, but he seems to also love Duke and UK.. i think it will come down to UM and UK

    • UM Hoops Fan

      I won’t be, not at all.

    • Mattsk

      None of you are throwing a lot of evidence into your arguments; not sure any of us possess much. M has been in on Booker from the beginning, and we know that he and his Dad like both our coaches and Michigan’s academic standing. It will come down to issues like style of play, how he feels about other teams’ players, and how he sees his role. At the very least, there’s plenty of evidence that he and his pops are taking a very thoughtful approach.

      • gpsimms

        Every update I have read since Duke got in on him has had more quotes about Duke and Kentucky than Michigan.

        It sounds like he will be in the state of Michigan during our camp, and doesn’t know if he is planning on going. He “thinks” we “might have mentioned” the camp to him.

        I won’t be holding my breath.

      • UKSINCEBIRTH

        They should take their time and do things the right way and that is to evaluate which school gives Devin the best chance at learning in both the classroom and on the court. All of the major programs can offer him a good education so the difference will be the basketball program and the coach. All of the schools have very good coaches but with Duke already getting a commit from a good SG they fall back a step. I believe that UK and Michigan are the 2 frontrunners at this point. Mich may have a slight lead but Coach Cal is truly the best recruiter in the country and UK wonr be behind for long.

    • sane1

      To say that you will be shocked is a little over the top. Re: Duke, they have a commitment now from a shooting guard in this class. That could very well effect Booker’s recruitment. UK, UNC, etc. are big names, but all of them just jumped in and don’t have nearly the relationship with Booker that our coaches have. Also, mom lives in Grand Rapids and wants her son playing close to her home. In the end, we may not get him, but we have a great shot here and there would be nothing shocking about him committing to Michigan.

  • ajerome33

    I don’t understand why some people continue to post negative comments towards this kid and keep trying to take his comments and assume they have a clue what he is really thinking. Take a deep breath and relax. He is being recruited by the top programs and should take his time to make the best decision for him. After all, it’s his life and his future.

    As for fearing that Duke, Kentucky, and Florida are involved……it wasn’t that long ago that we were competing with those very same schools in the recruitment of Mitch McGary, and we all know how that turned out.

  • D Ford

    There are a number of trolls commenting in this story. If I’m not mistaken and as someone else alluded to, Michigan just beat out the same exact school recruiting Booker for Mitch McGary’s services, so to insinuate or say John Beilien and his staff have no shot of beating out a Duke, Kentucky or Florida who by the way they just destroyed in the tournament this past season is just asinine. Michigan was just playing in the national championship game for Christ sake, lets be logical here! People acting like the tradition of Michigan basketball is that of Wayne State’s or something! Until Booker says otherwise, Michigan will stay in the running if they are not leading already.

    • Nick

      You leave Wayne State out of it!

    • gpsimms

      I don’t really feel like digging up all the quotes which seem lukewarm on Michigan and high on Duke and Kentucky that give me the impression I have, but thanks for calling a long time commenter a troll.

  • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

    I don’t get all the negative comments RE: Booker’s interviews. Everyone wants him, sure, but his interview quotes are very generic for the most part. He’s excited to be recruited hard by Duke, Kentucky, UNC, etc because that is validation of his performance.

    There’s a ways to go in his recruitment but Michigan is still way up there and has been on him for a long time. I’m willing to bet that two years ago people were worried about what McGary wrote on his blog about visits to UNC, Duke, etc. too.

  • Wayman Britt

    I don’t mind competing against Duke, Florida & NC for recruits, it’s a level playing field, but we all know UK doesn’t play fair.

  • TKWolverine

    Hey, pessimists: This is Michigan, for God’s sake!!

  • Adam St Patrick

    Even at this point its just great to be in the conversation. Pull a few more in the next several years and then the losses will start to sting. Def want the in-state kids going to Michigan tho.