Sam Webb: Just talk about how the summer’s been going for you.
Devin Booker: “Summer’s going good; you know, it was going real good until this injury happened, my ankle sprain. I’ve been out for three weeks, but right now it’s feeling good and getting back on the court.”
Sam Webb: Injury-wise, it’s been a tough one. You had the head injury, the leg injury. Is that proof that you’re taking it more to the basket?
Devin Booker: “I guess so. I’m trying to do that; I’m trying to develop my game. The charge is what actually messed up my head, but it comes with the game. They’re saying the higher level it goes, there’s going to be more contact. So you just have to deal with it, and I have to keep playing.”
Sam Webb: I remember talking to you last year around this time, and you talked about the physical part of the game, getting stronger, getting better defensively; that was a goal of yours. Do you feel like you’re closer to that goal?
Devin Booker: “Definitely. I think my defensive side – some people even said something about it, like ‘man, I didn’t know you could play defense like that.’ So yeah, I take a lot of pride in that now, and I think it’s helped, you know, getting strong, being with my dad, and us working out, and I think defense is actually more of an effort thing now, now that I’m playing it a lot. I feel like once you take pride in it, it’s something you can do.”
Sam Webb: It seemed like another thing last year at this time that you took personally; it seemed like people would say ‘oh, he’s a shooter, that’s a shooter’. Did you take that personally when people said that?
Devin Booker: “I took it personally kind of, I guess. People can say it from the outside, but then if you have someone who’s guarding me – ‘oh, I thought you were just a shooter, I didn’t know you could do all that.’ I think they say that mostly because a lot of guys can’t shoot, and once you’re able to shoot, they just label you as that, but whatever you have to do to put the ball in the hole, I feel. If that’s my strongest point, then I’m going to do it.”
Sam Webb: We know you’re bigger and stronger, but skill-wise, what have you added to your game?
Devin Booker: “More off the bounce, just like you said. You know, pick and roll. Me and my dad have been working on pick and roll and lot, with him playing point guard in the league he knows a lot about pick and roll. So he just teaches me the reads, how to read it, when to shoot, know the situation, just really running the team and being a leader."
Sam Webb: You’re another year in down at Moss Point. Clearly when you stepped down there, there was a bull’s eye on your back; but then you get the five star rating, then it seems like it’s a bigger bull’s eye on your back. Are you used to that now? (Used to) people saying ‘oh, that’s Devin Booker’?
Devin Booker: “Yeah, I’m pretty much used to it, especially in Mississippi, you know, every game people are going at me, double team, box and one, so I’ve learned to deal with looking at the bigger goal. I think it’s better preparing me for college, because I’m going to get way better looks when I’m in college, instead of just having a double team on me all the time. “
Sam Webb: I saw you last month when you were at the Michigan camp. You had another camp you were going to be going to a week later, and you had just gotten home. You get right home… come over to Michigan… why did you even make it over?
Devin Booker: “I think it’s more of a loyalty thing. Michigan’s been there since 8th grade, and a lot of my friends are going down with me. It’s just overall a good time; I can use it as an unofficial visit, and I’ve basically seen it all there, but just talking to the coaching staff, you know, it was good to go down there. "
Sam Webb: I know Bacari Alexander is your recruiter, but it seemed like you kind vibed a little more (this time) and I don’t know if it was purposely or not – but with lavall jordan. It seemed like you guys were really vibing at the camp. Is that accurate?
Devin Booker: “Yeah, you know, I’m kind of familiar with most of the coaching staff now, since they’ve been recruiting me so long, and ‘Val will be the one that will be working with me at my position, so I want to develop more of a relationship with him, obviously, if I was to go there, because that’s who I’d be working with most of the time."
Sam Webb: In that experience, what did you learn about him? What did you take away from your Val Jordan experience?
Devin Booker: “Him and my dad are actually kind of similar. They’re kind of younger, they know the game well, and they’re guards, so some of the things he says to me, I’ve heard from my dad before, and vice versa, so I’m learning a lot from him. When he watches my game, he kind of tells me some things I should work on still, and that’s what you like to hear."
Sam Webb: Another kid that was there was Kameron Chatman. It seems like that was another guy you talked to a little bit. Was there a little vibe with you guys established?
Devin Booker: “Yeah, you know, us being at all the camps together, we develop relationships like that, and once we’re in a place like that, two top ranked kids, you know, I just really get along with a lot of people, so yeah, we’re cool off the court."
Sam Webb: The one relationship that everyone wants to know about is, of course is Drake. Is Drake working the phone lines? Is he hitting you on Twitter? Is he trying to recruit you? What’s going on with Drake Harris?
Devin Booker: “I’ve been with Drake probably the past three straight weekends. You know, he always says stuff about Michigan. He says it jokingly sometimes; and sometimes serious. He always bugs me about it, but it’s all good."
Sam Webb: I want to talk about a couple schools other than Michigan really quickly, schools that a lot of people are talking about starting with Kentucky. They say Kentucky has really risen up Devin Booker’s list. Is that accurate, and if so, why?
Devin Booker: “I don’t know if I’d say – obviously, they’re up there, you know, Kentucky – you can’t ignore what Calipari has been doing. He’s creating dynasties, they’re winning championships, and putting players on the next level, but obviously a good school. I haven’t visited there yet. I’ve developed a relationship with Calipari. He has been doing most of the recruiting, but I haven’t been to the school yet. I’d like to get down there sometime soon. I’m not sure when yet though."
Sam Webb: And then Michigan State. You’ve been back at home, so you’ve had an opportunity to make it over there. How’s that relationship been going and growing?
Devin Booker: “It’s growing a lot too. Izzo, we talk on a day to day basis. Izzo,he’s really cool, man. We’re kind of off basketball now; it’s more of how the family’s doing… you know. It’s on that level now. I had one visit there when I got back too, so they’re picking it up."
Sam Webb: So what’s next? I know you have a lot of tournaments to go to… but as far as recruiting is concerned, what’s next for you in that regard?
Devin Booker: “Probably in the fall, I’ll cut down my list, or right after the summer, I’ll cut down my list. I don’t know how much, but it’s kind of out of control right now. So after the summer I’ll probably do that, and then go from there?"
Sam Webb: Do you think you’re going to take all five official visits?
Devin Booker: “I can’t say right now. I wouldn’t just say I’m going to take all five. I think when I feel the school’s right, then I’ll be there."
Sam Webb: You said you’re going to be cutting that list down, but you don’t know how much? When you trim it down, are there some schools right now that you know will be on that list?
Devin Booker: “Yeah, I can say it. I can say it in my head right now. (Laughter)"
Sam Webb: So you won’t give away any of them?
Devin Booker: “No, man. But I do know."
Sam Webb: Alright, so timeline for making a decision. Are you definitely going to be an early guy, an early period guy, or might you go to the late signing period?
Devin Booker: “Like I said, there’s no definites. Whenever I feel that the school is the right place, then that’s when I’ll be deciding. "
Sam Webb: I talked to your dad Melvin a lot. Your mom… I never asked you what your mom thinks about the whole process. Who does she like? What does she want? What is your mom saying to you?
Devin Booker: “My mom’s kind of enjoying it. You know, she’s just sitting back. She was never really a basketball fan, so she doesn’t know a lot about the sport, but obviously since I’m being so highly recruited, coaches are calling her. She’s just enjoying the process. She won’t be the one pulling the trigger, yes or no, but she likes to be involved. She likes the coaches talking to her, calling her, and she’s just enjoying it."
Sam Webb: Does mama want her baby close to home?
Devin Booker: “Of course, yeah she does."