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May 2, 2012Michigan coaches were the first to identify Moss Point (Miss.) shooting guard Devin Booker, back when the 6-4 standout was a freshman at Grandville (Mich.) High School. Booker now resides with his father in Mississippi, where he's quickly risen to become one of the better shooting guards in the '14 class.
U-M assistant Bacari Alexander watched almost all of Booker's games at the recent EYBL Tournament in Hampton, Va. last weekend. Booker had his ups and downs, but Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi and others noted the potential was unmistakable.
Watching the Michigan coaches watch him has been a highlight of Booker's spring.
"That means a lot, being at all my games," Booker said. "They've been to every game so far, so that means a lot to me.
"Michigan was in from the start. From the beginning, they were the first school on me since ninth grade. They are the one that got me started in all the college stuff, so they're always going to have a place with me."
In fact, Booker added, he has a "bias" for Michigan few schools can rival. Missouri would be another high on his list given the bloodlines. His father, Melvin Booker, was a standout point guard for the Tigers, and Booker has spent plenty of time honing his game and learning from the former pro.
"I just moved to Mississippi with my dad, but I used to go down there every summer to see him," Booker explained. "I'm more of the shooting guard - my dad was a point guard, fast and quick, and I don't know if I'm going to grow any more. I'm only 15 so I probably will.
"But he teaches the IQ of being a point guard, how to run a team and lead a team, get a team into the offense. He's trying to teach me to be a leader and see the floor, everything else, and we're training more. He's showing me things other people don't get to see being a pro."
Booker averaged 15.8 points in his first EYBL tournament in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, going 9-for-14 from three-point range. He struggled a bit early in Hampton, scoring eight points on 3-for-11 shooting (1-of-5 triples) and adding four rebounds in a 58-57 win over Georgia Stars, but picked it up. He scored 16 (6-7 FG, 3-5 FT) in a 72-66 loss to Louisiana Select, 21 (8-14 FG) in a 71-65 win over Metro Hawks, 13 (6-13 FG, 1-5 3FG) in a 67-51 loss to BABC and 7 (2-15 FG) in a 63-47 loss to Team Final.
Booker is drawing interest from plenty of programs and already holds offers from Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi. Georgetown and North Carolina ("a little bit") join U-M in showing interest.
"I've been there two times, for a football game and a basketball game," he said of Michigan. "I flew up to visit my parents and went both times. I went to the Ohio State game [in basketball]. Growing up in Michigan, I know about the rivalry. The atmosphere was crazy."
Booker has grown fond of the Michigan coaching staff. He's also high on the Wolverines' style.
"They spread the floor and do a lot of screens for the shooters. I like that," he said.
So much that the Wolverines figure to be a key player in his recruitment until the time comes to decide.