Devin Booker: Evaluation

From Michigan to Mississippi, Booker knocks down long jump shots.


Having a famous athlete for a father doesn't guarantee a child's athletic prowess, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Melvin Booker starred for Missouri two decades ago and won the Big 8 player of the year award in 1994.

At the minimum, then, scouts would track Devin's progress closely as he rose through the ranks. He played for Grandville (Mich.) High as a freshman and transferred to Moss Point down in Mississippi for his sophomore campaign. He impressed immediately as a 6-3 guard who could bury jump shots.

He made a national splash at the EYBL Minneapolis event in 2012. That event — played during the April live period — vaulted him onto the radar of elite programs such as Michigan (which had pursued him from the beginning), Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgetown, Florida, Michigan State, Duke and North Carolina.

His junior year thus brought significantly more fanfare to his doorstep than he'd experienced previously. He delivered the goods in the Deep South, proving himself worthy of his increasing number of high-major scholarship offers.

He found time late during the year to take unofficial visits to Duke, UNC, Florida, Alabama, Michigan and Michigan State. His list began to formulate around those programs along with Missouri, LSU and Stanford.

Booker's rise continued on the EYBL Circuit with Alabama Challenge. He drew an offer from Kentucky following the opening leg of the travel period, and thus the Wildcats immediately became perceived a strong contender.

Things tailed off a little on the court. Booker didn't produce the huge numbers many anticipated for him, given his reputation as a pure shooter. He performed well in some respects and there's no question that he needed more help from his teammates, but alas some began to wonder if he was going to remain mired in an extended slump.

He broke through more consistently late during the summer and reestablished that he's a national blue-chipper. While the McDonald's All-American Game will prove challenging to make — although shooting guard isn't quite as stacked as wing forward — he should go on to big things at the next level.

As of late August, his visit schedule includes official trips to Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky and Michigan State, with Florida also in contention.


Booker's game goes as his jump shot goes. When he's on, his soft touch and mechanically sound form result in splashing threes from as far as 23 feet. He excels on the wings but also makes shots from the corners and at the top of the key. He's also capable of using one or two dribbles and pulling up from 17 feet.

He also carries a solid frame. Though not nearly as strong as he will be in a few years, his body will enable him to pummel opponents into the lane and create space for jump shots. And because he has grown to 6-5, he possesses good height for shooting guard.

Not surprisingly in light of his bloodlines, Booker's understanding of basketball and team offense are excellent. That trait, in particular, has impressed college coaches even when his shot hasn't fallen. Mentally, he's far ahead of most peers.


Booker's game goes as his jump shot goes. That's how the above section opened, and that's how this one will begin, too. He's very reliant on his jumper and, when not enjoying great consistency, can struggle to score.

He isn't a great run/jump athlete and must figure out how to prevent defenders closing out without respecting his drives. As mentioned, greater strength should help him deal with quicker opponents.

He projects as a strong and intelligent defender, but the quickness issue again arises versus the most exclusive wings. Those players make life difficult for any defender, of course, and Booker's know-how and body should help him compensate.


Based on pedigree, skill and intelligence, Booker should proceed to a big-time role at whatever program he chooses. Even when he's missing, his jumper always looks good. He needs to knock down shots more consistently than he did over the past few months, but assuming he realigns he should be a multi-year starter and potential all-conference performer.

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