Life in the league

CUTigers recently caught up with former Clemson big man Trevor Booker, who now finds himself playing for the NBA's Washington Wizards.

Trevor Booker's career as a Clemson Tiger was nothing short of a rousing success - starting with his freshman year.

The Union, S.C. native's impact was felt almost immediately after the Gatorade High School Player of the Year arrived, as he was instrumental in leading Clemson all the way to the finals of the 2007 NIT.

He then led the ACC in rebounding as a junior and earned a well-deserved spot on the league's all-defensive team in 2009.

After a stellar junior campaign, there was some speculation about whether or not he would return to the Tigers for his senior year or bolt for the NBA. Fortunately, he opted to complete his eligibility and delivered 15.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and a career-high 2.5 assists per game.

For his efforts he was named a first-team All ACC performer, the first such honor for a Clemson player since Elden Campbell and Dale Davis were named to the first team All ACC squad 20 years ago.

Over the course his school-record 134 straight starts, he became one of just eight ACC players to rank in his school's top five in both scoring and rebounds.

He also joined Tim Duncan as the only players in league history with 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and 200 assists.

In June 2010, he was the 23rd overall pick in the NBA Draft after being selected by Minnesota, but he quickly saw his draft rights shipped to Washington.

Now playing with the Wizards through three games, Booker has seen the court an average of four minutes per contest, averaging two points and a rebound as he begins to work himself more into the lineup.

Recently, CUTigers had a chance to talk with the former Clemson standout about a variety of topics - here is an unedited transcript of that conversation:

How has your time with the Wizards been thus far?
Booker: It's a different experience. I did a lot of hard work in the first training camp but I think it went well. It's mostly been a lot of learning, trying to pick up everything and now I feel more comfortable.

What would you say has been the biggest adjustment for you so far playing in the NBA?
Booker: Probably just playing against bigger and stronger guys. I saw some of that in the ACC but not to this extent.

How much do you think playing at Clemson helped lay the foundation for you becoming a successful pro?
Booker: I think it helped me a lot, just playing in the ACC period and playing against bigger guys and taller guys, it helped me a lot. It's the best competition in college basketball so that helped.


Booker is one of only two players in ACC history (Tim Duncan) to record 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and 200 assists. (Roy Philpott)
You get to start your career playing alongside the No. 1 overall pick in the draft- Kentucky's John Wall. What's that been like?
Booker: Yeah, we're pretty cool. We hang out off the court, have a lot of fun and play video games.

At this time a year ago, did you think you'd be on the same team was Wall?
Booker: I knew it was a possibility but you never really think about it because you never know.

Have you had to endure much rookie hazing so far?
Booker: Not so far but I'm sure it will start soon. If they try to get me to do that, that's not going to happen. It's probably going to be something like buying donuts in the morning or something like that.

Coach Purnell obviously had a big impact on you during your time in Tigertown. Can you comment on that?
Booker: He had a big impact. He recruited me, welcomed me to Clemson and that's huge in what I am now.

What are you going to miss most about being a Tiger?
Booker: Just hanging out with my teammates.

How about Littlejohn Coliseum, what are you going to miss about playing there?
Booker: I miss the fans already. The fans are crazy and I miss them already.

Has it hit you that the NBA is an 82-game season and how are you approaching that?
Booker: Just one game at a time, it sounds long but I'm just going to take it one day at a time.

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