Booker with the Suns in November 2016
|No. 1 – Phoenix Suns|
|Born||October 30, 1996|
Grand Rapids, Michigan
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|NBA draft||2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall|
|Selected by the Phoenix Suns|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Devin Armani Booker (born October 30, 1996) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended Moss Point High School in Moss Point, Mississippi and played in the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game, before spending one season playing college basketball for the University of Kentucky. He was drafted 13th overall in the 2015 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns. On March 24, 2017, Booker became the youngest player to score over 60 points in a game, finishing with 70 against the Boston Celtics. In March 2019, at 22 years old, Booker became the youngest player in NBA history with consecutive 50-point games. His father, Melvin Booker, played for three teams in the NBA.
- 1 Early life
- 2 High school career
- 3 College career
- 4 Professional career
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Personal life
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Booker is the son of Veronica Gutiérrez and Melvin Booker, who was named the 1994 Big Eight Player of the Year while a point guard at Missouri. 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 Mexican American and Puerto Rican mother while his father pursued a professional basketball career internationally. He visited his father regularly during the summer. Booker was taught by his father that having basketball IQ was just as important as natural athleticism. During his time in middle school, Booker became friends with future NBA players D'Angelo Russell and Tyler Ulis.
High school career
After playing for the freshman, junior varsity and varsity basketball teams during his freshman year at Grandville High School in Michigan, Booker 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 (17) 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. By early January, Press-Register sportswriter Creg Stephenson opined, "Sophomore guard Devin Booker has developed into one of the top players on the coast in his first season with the [Moss Point] Tigers' varsity, averaging 22.7 points per game."
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. At that time, his father told reporters that Booker was drawing interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida, Alabama, Georgetown, Michigan and Missouri.
Booker was limited to just 14 points, with no field goals made in the second half, in a 57–55 win over Gautier High School in the opening round of the Division 7-5A tournament. In the championship game against Pascagoula High School, Booker was held to single-digit scoring (8) for only the second time in the season as Moss Point lost 48–32, setting up an away game with defending state champion Wayne County High School in the first round of the South State playoffs. Wayne County focused their defense on Booker, holding him to a single, first-quarter free throw, en route to a 57–37 victory that ended Moss Point's season. 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. In the announcement, the paper reported that Booker held scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgetown, Michigan and South Alabama.
In the summer following his sophomore year, Booker played in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and participated in the Elite 100 Camp, the LeBron James King's Academy Camp, and the Kevin Durant Nike Skills Camp. These commitments caused him to miss the inaugural South Mississippi All-Star Basketball Showcase in May.
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. After the game, a Sun Herald reporter wrote of Booker, "He's extremely athletic, can shoot the lights out and plays with a high degree of energy no matter if he's on offense or defense. Booker uses his quickness and long wingspan to deny pass after pass. And when he gets his hands on a steal, he knows exactly what to do with it." 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. The following week, Booker left a game against Harrison Central High School in the third quarter with a sprained MCL; he had scored just 9 points, but grabbed 7 rebounds.
Booker's injury proved minor, and did not hamper him in Moss Point's next game, where he scored 26 points in a 52–48 loss to Davidson High School in the Jackie Laird Christmas Classic at Biloxi High School. On the second day of the Classic, Booker scored a season-high 49 points in an 80–65 win over Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School, a performance that added Duke to the list of schools recruiting him. In early January, Moss Point went 1–2 in the Poplar Bluff showdown in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, defeating Memphis' Kirby High School but losing to Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and host Poplar Bluff High School. University of Missouri fans attended en masse to cheer for Booker, who averaged 30.2 points over Moss Point's three games, hoping to entice him to play for the Tigers.
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 went 3–3 in Division 7-5A, finishing the divisional season with a 51–40 victory over Gautier High School. Booker, who struggled with his outside shot due to a wrap on his injured right wrist, hit all 17 of his free throws en route to a game-high 30 points in the win. 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.
By the end of Moss Point's season, Booker held scholarship offers from Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, and Mississippi State. Rivals.com ranked him a four-star prospect and the 30th best player overall in the class of 2014; ESPN tabbed him as the 18th best player overall. Recruiting analyst Evan Daniels called Booker "one of the best shooters" in the country. In April, Booker began playing for the Alabama Challenge on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. After watching Booker play for the first time in the league's opening weekend, Kentucky coach John Calipari offered Booker a scholarship. At the South Mississippi All-Star event in May, Booker scored 23 points to lead his East team over the West team 101–70 in the underclassman game.
During the summer of 2013, Booker participated in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, the LeBron James Skills Academy, the CP3 Elite Guard Camp, and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Top 100 camp. His fellow participants in the NBPA camp voted him to the camp's 10-man all-star team. Booker also participated against international competition at the Nike Global Challenge. At the Under Armor Elite 24 showcase, he won the three-point shooting contest. In August 2013, Booker narrowed his list of potential college choices to Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Michigan State, and Kentucky. He took an official visit to Kentucky on the weekend of September 9 to watch an alumni exhibition game; fellow 2014 prospects Jahlil Okafor and Tyler Ulis also attended.
Near the beginning of October, his high school coach said Booker would announce his college choice on October 31 after taking official visits to Michigan and Missouri; he also stated that Booker was no longer considering Florida. Booker stated that ESPN had offered him the chance to make his announcement on live television, but he declined, saying he didn't want the pressure of such an event and that he wanted to keep the date flexible to allow his family from Michigan to attend. At an October 31 ceremony at his high school gymnasium, Booker announced he had chosen Kentucky, citing the program's history and his affinity for coach John Calipari as primary factors in his decision. He, Tyler Ulis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles all signed National Letters of Intent to play for Kentucky on November 13, the first day of the official signing period.
In December, 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. After the season, he was named to the USA Today All-USA third team.
In the 2014 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, Booker had a game-high 31 points and was named MVP of the Mississippi team, but his team lost to the Alabama team 90–83. Booker's 31 points tied Othella Harrington's 1992 performance for the most ever scored by a Mississippi player in the event. Booker joined future Kentucky teammates Ulis and Lyles on the West team in the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game, while Towns suited up for the East. He scored a three-point basket in each half and finished with 8 points as the West won 105–102. In March, all four were selected for the Jordan Brand Classic, with Booker and Ulis on the West team and Towns and Lyles playing for the East. In May, Booker participated in the South Mississippi All-Star Basketball Showcase leading the Home team with 43 points, including a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, in a 114–106 win against the Away team. He was named the game's MVP.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Moss Point, Mississippi||Moss Point||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||Oct 31, 2013|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: ESPN: ESPN grade: 93|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 28, 6 (SG) Rivals: 29 ESPN: 18, 1 (MS), 3 (SG)|
In Kentucky's first exhibition game against the University of Pikeville on November 2, 2014, Booker was the team's second leading scorer with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including two three-pointers; he also had three assists.
After a standout 15-point, 6-rebound, 7-assist game against Boston University, Booker posted a then-season-high 18 points in a November 23 win against Montana State. He led the team in scoring, shooting 6-of-8 from the field with 3 three-pointers. In Kentucky's next game against Texas-Arlington, Booker set a new season high with a team-high 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including five made three-pointers, in a 92–44 win.
In 38 games for Kentucky in 2014–15, Booker averaged 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21.5 minutes per game. He subsequently earned SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the All-SEC Second Team.
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.
Phoenix Suns (2015–present)
On June 25, 2015, Booker, was selected with the thirteenth overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2015 NBA draft. On July 13, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Suns, and in seven subsequent Summer League games, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He went on to make his NBA debut two days before his 19th birthday, in the Suns' season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. He became the first player in NBA history to debut at 18 years old after playing at least one year of college basketball. In 21 minutes of action against the Mavericks, he scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in a 111–95 loss. While he began the season as a backup shooting guard throughout the early portion of the season, including starts on November 23 and December 21, a late December injury to starting guard Eric Bledsoe on December 26 led to Booker's promotion to the starting line-up for the rest of the season. Before his teammate's injury, Booker was producing averages of 5.4 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 14.1 minutes of play. His production then increased throughout the second half of the season.
On January 2, 2016, Booker scored a then season-high 21 points in a 142–119 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Only Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant scored 20+ points more than once at a younger age than Booker. He became the youngest Phoenix Suns player and the fifth-youngest player in NBA history to record a double-double behind LeBron James, Andrew Bynum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on January 6. On January 19, he scored 32 points in a 97–94 loss to the Indiana Pacers, setting a Suns' rookie record with six three-pointers. Booker became the third-youngest player in NBA history at 19 years, 81 days old to record a 30-point game, behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant, as well as the youngest Suns player to score 30 or more points in a game. On February 12, Booker scored 23 points in a close victory for Team USA in the 2016 Rising Stars Challenge. The following day, he competed in the NBA All-Star Weekend's Three-Point Contest, becoming the youngest contestant to ever participate in the event and only the fourth rookie to compete in the 30-year-old contest, joining Stephen Curry (2010), Kyle Korver (2004) and Dennis Scott (1991). He made it to the final round of the event, beating both James Harden and J. J. Redick in a tiebreaker event after the first round, where he finished third behind the "Splash Brothers" – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (winner).
On March 3, Booker scored a then career-high 34 points in a loss to the Miami Heat, becoming the first Suns rookie since Richard Dumas in the 1992–93 season to record multiple 30+ point games for the team and the fourth-youngest player to do it in a season. His third 30-point game came on March 9 against the New York Knicks, finishing with 32 points to join Walter Davis (17) and Alvan Adams (6) as the only Suns rookies with 3+ 30-point games. A day later, Booker recorded his second-straight 30+ point game (third in a week and fourth overall at the time) by setting a new career-high with 35 points in a loss to the Denver Nuggets, joining LeBron James as the only teenagers in NBA history with back-to-back 30+ point games. On March 12, he recorded his third double-double of the season with 18 points and a career-high 11 assists in a 123–116 loss to the Golden State Warriors, becoming the first Suns rookie with multiple points/assists double-doubles since Negele Knight (3) in the 1990–91 season. He recorded his fifth 30-point game of the season on March 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Throughout the month of March, Booker led all rookies in points (22.4) and assists (4.9) per game. His sixth and final 30-point game of the season came on April 5 in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, scoring 34 points on 12-of-25 shooting. On April 9, with 16 points scored in a 121–100 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Booker reached 1,014 for the season, making him the fourth-youngest player to reach 1,000 career points, following only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, as well as the third-youngest during their rookie season. Booker finished his rookie campaign with 1,048 points at an average of 13.8 per game. He appeared in 76 of the team's 82 games in 2015–16, a season that saw the Suns finish with the second-worst record in the West (23–59) and the second-worst record in franchise history. In addition, Booker made 51 starts and averaged 2.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, earning praise from fellow NBA players such as Klay Thompson, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant. He finished fourth in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting and earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors. He became the first Suns player to be named an All-Rookie Team member since Amar'e Stoudemire in 2003.
During the offseason, Booker trained with head coach Earl Watson and former NBA player Baron Davis at UCLA, was invited to be on the select team that practices against Team USA in preparation for the Summer Olympics, and played two games for the Suns during the Las Vegas Summer League. With teammate Eric Bledsoe returning from injury in 2016–17, Booker was retained as the starting shooting guard while Brandon Knight was moved to the bench. In the Suns' season opener on October 26, Booker scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in a 113–94 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Booker played alongside rookies Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender and the Suns became the first NBA team to play three teenagers in the same game. Booker scored a career-highs of 38 points and 39 points on November 4 and 6, becoming the first Suns player to record consecutive games of 38 or more points in the regular season since Tom Chambers 28 years earlier.
On January 12, 2017, he scored 28 fourth-quarter points, in another 39-point night, to set the Suns franchise record for most points in a quarter previously held by Stephon Marbury's 26 points in 2002. He had a second straight 39-point effort in a two days later to become the youngest player in NBA history to record consecutive games of 39 or more points in the regular season. He was named to the U.S. Team for the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge, and was invited to take part in the 2017 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. On February 4, at 20 years, 97 days old, Booker became the youngest player to score at least 20 points in 16 consecutive games. His 16-game streak is the second-longest by any first-year or second-year player since Vince Carter had a 23-game run as a second-year player during the 1999–2000 season.
On March 24 against the Boston Celtics, Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 points in a game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant. It was the 11th 70-point game in NBA history. Booker finished 21-of-40 shooting overall, including 4-of-11 on 3-pointers, and 24-of-26 from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds and six assists in 45 minutes. Booker, 20, became the youngest player to score 70 (and 60) points in a game. He had the highest-scoring game in the NBA since Bryant scored 81 in January 2006. The Suns' previous scoring record was held by Tom Chambers with 60 points on March 24, 1990. With 21 points against Dallas on April 9, Booker passed Kobe Bryant to move into fourth place on the NBA scoring list of players before their 21st birthday with 2,774 points, trailing only Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and leader LeBron James. Booker ended the season averaging 22.1 points per game, a near 9-point increment from his 13.8 points in 2015–16.
On October 28, 2017, Booker scored 34 points in a 114–107 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers for his 21st career 30+ point game, setting the third-most 30-point games in NBA history before turning 21 years old, behind LeBron James (57) and Kevin Durant (28). On November 6, he scored 18 points in a 98–92 loss to the Brooklyn Nets to reach 3,000 career points and the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 3,000 points, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony. On November 13, a 36-point game and 26th 30-point in his career tied Steve Nash for 15th most in franchise history. Over the Suns' first 17 games of the season, Booker had seven 30-point games. In Suns history, only Charlie Scott (8 in 1974–75) has had more 30-point performances in the same span.
On December 2, he scored 38 points in a 116–111 loss to the Boston Celtics, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history to follow up a 70-point performance with 32+ points in their next game against that same opponent. Two days later, he scored his season-high 46 points in a 115–101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
On December 6, he was ruled out for up to three weeks after sustaining a left adductor strain the previous night against the Toronto Raptors. On December 26, in a 99–97 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, Booker scored 32 points in his return. Booker then missed four games in early February with a left hip contusion. On February 17, Booker won the Three-Point Contest over Klay Thompson and Tobias Harris in the final round after setting a new record with 28 points.
On March 2, in a 124–116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Booker scored 39 points and at 21 years, 123 days old, he became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach 4,000 career points, again behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. It was also Booker's fourth straight 30-point game, the first Suns player to score 30+ in four straight since Amar'e Stoudemire from December 20–28, 2004. Booker missed the Suns' final 12 games of the season with a right hand sprain.
On September 10, he was ruled out for six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint in his right hand after he jammed it in practice on March 14, 2018. He recovered in time for the Suns' season opener on October 17, scoring 35 points in a 121–100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Through the beginning of the season, he had multiple 30+ point games despite missing a six-game stretch when he strained his hamstring. On January 24, Booker became the fifth youngest player in NBA history to reach 5,000 career points, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard.
On February 25, he scored 20 points to help the Suns break a franchise-record 17-game losing streak with a 124–121 win over the Miami Heat. On March 25, he scored 59 points in a 125–92 loss to the Utah Jazz, becoming the first player in NBA history with 50 in a game in which his team lost by 30 or more. He also became the third player in NBA history to score 50 in a game in which no teammate reached double figures. On March 27, he scored 50 points in a 124–121 loss to the Wizards, becoming the youngest player in NBA history with consecutive 50-point games. He also became first player in franchise history to reach 50 in back-to-back games. On March 30, he scored 48 points in another Suns' loss, falling two points short of becoming the fifth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in three straight games.
On April 3, in a 118–97 loss to the Jazz, Booker sprained his left ankle, ruling him out for the last three games of the season.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Booker is of Puerto Rican descent on his mother's side and is eligible to play for the Puerto Rican national team. Booker's maternal grandfather is from Mexico. Booker's younger half-sister, Mya, has microdeletion syndrome, a genetic chromosomal disorder. Booker also has an older brother named Davon Wade.
- List of National Basketball Association single-game scoring leaders
- List of oldest and youngest National Basketball Association players
- List of second-generation National Basketball Association players
- NBA regular season records
- List of Puerto Ricans
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- Meet the Cats: Kentucky's Devin Booker benefits from belief in dad
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Devin’s motivation to improve his game only grew during summer visits with his father.
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- Bigger than basketball: Devin Booker forms unlikely bond with Suns fan
- Devin Booker Invited his Best Friend to the NBA Draft Lottery
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