Booker talks UK, will visit Cats soon

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When it comes to the shooting guard position in the line of Kentucky targets for the Class of 2014, the Wildcats' top priority is up for debate. Devin Booker, who is certainly in the discussion, is participating in the NBPA Top 100 Camp where he is currently the only player in that class sporting a coveted UK offer.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When it comes to the shooting guard position in the line of Kentucky targets for the Class of 2014, the Wildcats' top priority is up for debate. Devin Booker, who is certainly in the discussion, is participating in the NBPA Top 100 Camp where he is currently the only player in that class sporting a coveted UK offer.

"I think it's a big deal," Booker said. "With all the talent at this camp, being the one who got offered by (John) Calipari is a big deal. I'm the one with the offer. So I think that makes the impression that I was the top player they are going for."

And while Kentucky is targeting other players at his position, including Robbinsdale (Minn.) Cooper guard Rashad Vaughn, Booker is not worried about teaming up with other top talent at the next level, even that involves fighting for minutes.

"I think if the school is the right fit for me, that's the school I'll be going to," Booker said. "If there is a player in my spot, it won't be that big of a deal. It's all fair once you get there."

Vaughn, the No. 13 overall player in 2014 according to Scout.com, was featured on the original NBPA Top 100 Camp roster, but was unable to attend as he is training with USA Basketball.

As for Booker, the five-star shooting guard was not his usual self in the afternoon session at John Paul Jones Arena. Known as a 3-point marksman, his shots were not falling early. As a result, he molded his game into a team setting and made unselfish contributions to help earn the win.

"I tried to attack the rack more," Booker said of his performance after missing on several attempts from the outside. "But if that's not working, I get my team involved. If it's not my day, then it's not my day. I work hard on the defensive end. I take pride in my defense. And then just rebounding."

Booker says he enjoys the change of pace that national camps, such as the NBPA Top 100 Camp, offer after assuming double teams and traps on the offensive end of the floor when he plays for his Alabama Challenge AAU team.

"I have to be the man on my AAU team," Booker said. "But now I have other people to take the pressure off me, so I actually kind of like it. I get to be more of a facilitator than just a shot taker.

"I think this will be more like what college will be like. Playing with more players that have that experience. So this is a good camp."

Booker will soon be making his way to Lexington as he plans to take an unofficial visit sometime after this weekend and before the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, which begins on June 28.

And while he has earned a scholarship offer from the Cats, Booker suggests he has not taken the opportunity to make a rushed commitment because, in part, both parties are still in a feeling out process.

"It's more of just ‘I'm not ready yet'," he said. "Kentucky just started recruiting me recently. There is a relationship there, but I want coach to trust me and I want to trust coach also."

The 2013 Gatorade Player of The Year in Mississippi has only been on UK's radar for a short period of time, but Kentucky head coach John Calipari is handling his recruitment to make up for lost time.

"Coach Calipari, that's who does all the recruiting on me from Kentucky, we text on a day-to-day basis, and we talk on the phone at least once a week," Booker said. "Calipari is a really cool guy. It's not even really all about basketball. He asks how my family is doing and things like that. I'd like to take a visit there and see the campus and maybe that will have a bigger impact on me."

Booker, Scout's the No. 23 player in the 2014 class, does not have an official list of potential schools, but he is considering a number of programs including, North Michigan, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina, Duke, Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Stanford, to go along with UK.

So when will he announce a formal list?

"I don't have a timeframe, but it is getting hotter right now. So I think after the summer time I'll cut it down just a little bit, maybe to eight or five schools."


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