- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
He saw early on there was a chance he would be a little more precocious than the others and he had an advantage many of his peers didn’t have.
Combo guard Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point) was born this way, brought into this world with natural basketball genes from his father, former Missouri star and professional basketball player Melvin Booker.
Natural, though, can only go so far. Melvin has made sure the genetics provided haven’t gone to waste, working out his son on the beach to improve his agility and strength as well as with Devin's high school and summer basketball teams, where he serves as an assistant coach.
“It gives me a good advantage because I can see things that kids usually don’t get to see,” Devin Booker said. “Not everybody has a father who played in the NBA or played overseas.
“Just I kind of have a natural IQ for the game. I think I get it from my dad’s side, being around him so much, just this IQ for basketball.”
The knowledge combined with a smooth shooting stroke helped make the 6-foot-4 Booker the No. 24 player in the ESPN Super 60 for the Class of 2014 and brought a lot of college suitors, including Michigan.
The Wolverines have not offered a scholarship, but Booker said the coaches indicated to him during a visit to campus last week he will “most likely” receive an offer when John Beilein starts handing them out June 15.
If the Wolverines offer, they would join a list Booker said included Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Florida that have extended scholarships. Besides Michigan, Booker said among the schools he is looking at are Missouri, Florida, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Georgetown and Alabama.
Michigan is in the mix for multiple reasons. Booker grew up in Grand Rapids before moving to Mississippi, and he said the Wolverines showed interest earlier than most.
“Michigan was the first one to come after me,” Booker said. “When I lived in Michigan, they were the first school to actually recruit me. They care about their student-athletes a lot and provide a lot of lifetime opportunities with so many alumni from Michigan.”
Last week’s visit to Michigan offered something different than the others.
The junior-to-be saw more of the campus, ate for the first time at Noodles and Co. and viewed Michigan’s new Player Development Center.
“We saw the business school, the law school and when I went up before the facilities weren’t quite finished,” Booker said. “But now they are and they are going on really well.
“They took me [to the business and law schools] because I have really good grades, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do in college yet. That is something I have to discuss with my parents so I’m not sure about that yet.”
Should the Wolverines offer a scholarship, it won’t accelerate Booker’s process. After discussing it with his family and some friends who have been through recruiting before, Booker said he plans on making his decision before his senior year starts.
The reasoning shows part of the precocious ability on the court transitions to his decision-making off the court as well for all of the schools he is considering.
“Just to see who else comes and what commits come there even more,” Booker said. “Who is leaving and see how I fit in with the new team that is going to be there when I’m there.”
Where Booker chooses to do that is a long way off.