- Devin Booker
- Hometown (Last School)
- Grand Rapids, Mich. (Moss Point)
- October 30, 1996
Devin Booker was born Devin Armani Booker on October 30, 1996, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Veronica Gutierrez and Melvin Booker. His father Melvin was named the 1994 Big Eight Player of the Year while a point guard at Missouri and was an All-American. His parents met while his father was playing basketball for the Continental Basketball Association’s Grand Rapids Hoops in Gutiérrez’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Booker was born and raised in Grand Rapids, living with his mother while his father pursued a professional basketball career internationally. He visited his father regularly during the summer.
After playing for the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity basketball teams during his freshman year at Grandville High School in Michigan, Booker, a sophomore, moved to Mississippi to live with his father after the latter’s retirement from professional basketball. He enrolled at Moss Point High School, where his father was hired as an assistant coach, in August 2011. In his team’s fifth game of the season—a 52–32 loss to Gulfport High School—Booker scored more points than the rest of his teammates combined (15). In December, he hit a buzzer-beater from just beyond half-court to beat Harrison Central High School, improving Moss Point’s record to 4–6 on the year. In the Laurel MLK Shootout, Booker scored 54 points against Northeast Jones High School, falling nine shy of Litterial Green’s Moss Point record for most points in a game, set in 1988. He followed up that performance with 32 points, including a game-winning three-pointer, against Murrah High School and was named ESPNHS.com’s Southeast Player of the Week. For the year, Booker averaged 22.8 points per game and was named the South Mississippi Player of the Year by the Sun Herald, becoming just the second sophomore to be awarded the honor. With most of Moss Point’s experienced players graduating, Booker switched to point guard for his junior year. In an early December game, Booker outscored the entire Ocean Springs High School team 40–39 through three quarters en route to a 48-point finish as Moss Point won 100–55. He followed up this performance with a 30-point outing, including 7 three-pointers, in a win over 54–37 win over Laurel High School in the second annual Melvin Booker Shootout, named in honor of his father. On the second day of the Jackie Laird Christmas Classic at Biloxi High School, Booker scored a season-high 49 points in an 80–65 win over Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School. Booker scored a game-high 32 points in a 58–56 loss to Gulfport High School, the top-ranked team in Mississippi, in Moss Point’s final game before divisional play, dropping the team’s record to 6–11. Moss Point closed out the regular season with a 67–65 loss to Division 5-6A champion Hattiesburg High School, despite 43 points from Booker. The following week, Moss Point faced a rematch with Gautier in the first round of the Division 7-5A tournament with a spot in the state tournament on the line. Moss Point fell 54–51 in double overtime, ending the team’s season at 12–16. Booker scored 35 points in the loss, including 17 free throws. For the year, he averaged 29.7 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game while carrying a 3.81 grade point average. He was named to the Division 7-5A All-Division team and was the division’s MVP. In March, he was named the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year for 2013, and in April, he became the second player ever to win the Sun Herald Player of the Year Award in consecutive seasons.
Booker, Tyler Ulis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Trey Lyles all signed National Letters of Intent to play for Kentucky on November 13, 2013. Booker chose Kentucky over Michigan State and Missouri.
In December 2013, Booker’s Moss Point team traveled to the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Marshall County, Kentucky, to play Louisville’s Ballard High School, the top-rated high school team in the state. Booker led his team in points (40), rebounds (9), and assists (2) while shooting 50% from the field and 20-for-24 from the free-throw line, but his team lost the game. Two games later, he scored a season-high 45 points in a 78–67 loss to Alabama’s McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in the Melvin Booker Shootout. Although Moss Point lost all three games they played in the late-December HighSchoolOT.com Invitational, Booker’s 111 total points over those three games fell just four short of Donald Williams’ 1991 record for the event. Booker’s 38-point performance in a January 31 win against Pass Christian High School made him Moss Point’s all-time career scoring leader with 2,263 points, surpassing the 2006 mark of 2,251 set by David Booker (no relation). Moss Point won Mississippi’s Region 8-4A regular season and tournament championships before ending their season with a 61–56 loss to McComb High School in the Class 4A South State Finals. Booker scored 42 points in the loss, including 26 in the fourth quarter. He averaged 30.9 points per game in his senior season and finished his three-year career at Moss Point with 2,518 points. Booker was regarded as the 18th overall prospect in his class by ESPN and third at his position.
As a freshman at Kentucky, Booker earned SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors and was tabbed to the All-SEC Second Team and the All-SEC Freshman Team. He won four straight SEC Freshman of the Week honors between January 12 and February 2, 2015, while also earning the honor a league-high five times. He appeared in 38 games for the Wildcats and averaged 10 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game, while also sinking 58 shots from long range, second most on the team. Booker scored in double figures in 20 games, second best on the team. His season highlights included a stretch of seven games in which he connected on 20 of 28 (71.4 percent) of his 3-point shots, beginning with the game against No. 18 North Carolina. Booker had a career-high 19 points while sinking a career-best five 3-pointers in just 17 minutes of action against UT Arlington on November 15, 2014. On November 21, 2014, Booker, who made just one 3-pointer on 11 attempts in his first three games, took his turn in the limelight on a team filled with stars who could shine on any given night. Booker finished with 15 points, and drained four shots from long range. He also had seven of Kentucky’s 24 assists. He tied his career-high 19 points and made a career-best five 3-pointers in the rout over UCLA on December 20, 2014. Booker hit 5 of 6 3-pointers and 7 of 10 shots overall. On December 13, 2014, in an 84-70 victory over North Carolina, Booker, who made only one of 13 shots against Texas and Eastern Kentucky, hit all three of his shots from beyond the arc. He scored 8 points in the first 8 minutes. His 15 points tied Willie Cauley-Stein for team high. On January 10, 2015, Booker poured in 18 points with four 3-pointers at Texas A&M. He led all scorers with 18 points shooting 6 for 9 (2-4 three-pointers) at South Carolina on January 24, 2015. On February 17, 2015, Booker scored a game-high 18 points while adding a career-high seven rebounds in a win at Tennessee. Booker was part of a Kentucky team that became the first undefeated team to reach the Final Four since UNLV in 1991. The Wildcats lost to Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Final Four. The 2014-15 Wildcats finished the season 38-1.
On April 9, 2015, Booker declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final three years of college eligibility. He was joined by fellow Kentucky teammates Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, and Karl-Anthony Towns. On June 25, 2015, Booker was selected as the thirteenth overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2015 NBA draft.
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