UK basketball recruit Devin Booker has learned a lot about the sport over the past two years.
Booker was a well thought of — but not elite — prospect when he left Michigan before his sophomore season to join his father in Mississippi. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard told the Herald-Leader earlier this year that his dad has been an integral part of his emergence as a five-star recruit.
His high school coach said the same thing earlier this week.
“He’ll work (Devin) out for an hour and a half or two hours before practice,” Moss Point Coach Micoe Cotton told the Herald-Leader. “Shooting drills, ball handling drills, cone drills, all kinds of drills just to get him better. … And his dad preps him for off-the-court issues too. He plays a major role.”
Melvin Booker knows what he’s doing. He was the Big Eight Player of the Year as a point guard at Missouri in the early 1990s. The elder Booker played 32 games in the NBA before a successful overseas career that included stops in Italy, Turkey and Russia.
When his pro career ended, Melvin Booker eventually settled back in his home state of Mississippi. He’s now an assistant coach at Moss Point.
Devin Booker has narrowed his choices to Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Melvin’s alma mater, Mizzou.
He’s established himself as one of the best shooters in the country, but he’s also one of the hardest workers in the class.
“I’ve been coaching for 19 years, and I’ve had some pretty good kids come through and I’ve had kids work really hard,” Cotton said. “But … he really works to get better. He has really worked to get to the point where he is. Before practice, after practice, during the summer — he really works in his time off. He could be lolly gagging, but he isn’t.”
Cotton said he couldn’t speak for Booker as to exactly what he’s looking for in a college. The high school coach did want to make one thing clear though…
“His dad is not making the decision on where he’s going to school,” Cotton said. “His dad is just prepping him for the situation that’s about to come. And that’s up to Devin.”