Beilein Strikes Chord with Booker

The nation's premier programs are fiercely chasing Moss Point, MS star Devin Booker, but he is taking all of the attention in stride. So while the names on his scholarship ledger have changed, he insists his decision criteria has stayed the same. The nation's #3 SG chatted with GBW recently about his latest offer, the commitment of another star guard to Duke, John Beilein's recent visit, and more.

AAU season is just now beginning to heat and already, Moss Point, Mississippi combo guard, Devin Booker is generating buzz.  Despite a 1-3 showing in Los Angeles by his team during session one of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, the five-star talent performed well enough individually to add another big time scholarship to his tally.

“(Kentucky) kind of came out of the blue,” Booker said regarding his most recent offer.  “(John Calipari) was at like two or three of my games this weekend.  He texted me afterward and said he saw all he needed to see.  He came down here and officially offered.  I’ve never been there.  I’m pretty sure that we’ll eventually (visit), but not anytime soon though because throughout the whole summer I think I’m going to be focusing on EYBL.”

While most of his attention will be aimed at the hardwood, he will keep a bit of an eye on his recruitment as well.  The commitment of four-star shooting guard Grayson Allen to Duke – one of Booker’s top suitors – is an example of how his recruiting picture could change very quickly.

“(Allen’s commitment) mixes it up a little bit, but I wouldn’t say it totally affects my decision because in the first place I don’t want anything given to me,” said Booker.  “I feel like I can go in and earn any spot that I want.”

That mindset allows the Blue Devils to remain viable contenders.  Throw in Kentucky and North Carolina and you have a veritable who’s who of college basketball.  Many observers believe the star power of those programs make them the probative favorites for Booker’s services.  The young man himself warns that such thinking is shortsighted.

“I don’t just base it off that.  When it comes down to it I think it boils down to the key components I stated before.  Obviously those are big time schools that play on a high level, but a lot of other schools are playing on that level now too.”

One of those schools is Michigan.  When asked if the Wolverines’ run to the national title game made an impression on him, Booker didn’t hesitate.

“Definitely,” he replied.  “That’s what you want to see from a team that you potentially want to play college ball for – win the big time games playing in big time environments.  That means a lot.”

Another meaningful happening for Michigan was John Beilein’s attendance at one of Booker’s workouts earlier this week.  The chord that was struck was so significant the Booker shouted Michigan’s headman out on twitter.

“It was big because we had all just left L.A.,” Booker explained.  “We were actually on the same flight from Dallas to Mobile, but it was kind of awkward because you can’t say a word to any on the football field and me on the basketball court. Everybody was wore out and tired, but he still showed up.”

Count it as another feather in the Maize & Blue cap, but there is still a long way to go in a race without a known leader.  For that reason don’t expect Michigan’s staff to rest on its laurels.  They will likely be in attendance for each of Booker’s stops on the AAU circuit that coaches are allowed to be at.  They’ll also be getting a recruiting assist from future Wolverine and Booker’s fellow west Michigan native, Drake Harris.

“I congratulated him the day he committed and he gave me this long pitch on why I should go (to Michigan),” Booker said laughingly.  “Me and Drake are pretty cool. It’s not going to be a decision maker or anything, but it would be nice to play with some hometown friends.”

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