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Trevor Booker anxious for season to begin

Trevor Booker didn't participate in the dancing and dunking that took place at the rookie photo shoot in New York, but he did have an impressive highlight of his own as he buried a 35-foot hook shot off the glass. After making the shot - on his third attempt - Booker smiled, kissed his fingers and pointed toward the ceiling.

But Booker doesn't intend on trying to many of those shots in front of Wizards Coach Flip Saunders once training camp begins in six weeks. "Nah. If I do that, I'll probably end up on the bench," Booker said with a laugh.

The first senior taken in the first round of June's draft, Booker is smart enough to know where he will earn playing time next time season -- down low, where he can keep opposing big man from having their way. And, he said this week that he is eager to finally get down to business.

"I think we got a big season ahead of us and we can do big things. I'm very excited for myself. I know what I'm capable of and I'm looking forward to playing," said Booker, whom the Wizards selected 23rd overall. "It feels great, just knowing a team wanted me that much that they moved up for me, I just want to go out there and play hard for them."

Booker and John Wall are both in Palisades, N.Y., this week for the NBA rookie transition program. The Wizards were supposed to have three representatives, but 17th overall pick Kevin Seraphin was unable to attend because of complications with his visa from France. The paperwork problems surrounding Seraphin's visa are expected to be cleared up before the end of the month, according to a team spokesperson. Seraphin is expected to participate in the rookie orientation next season.

Booker was in bit overanxious to get to New York for his rookie orientation this week. He packed his bags Saturday night, woke up the next day, went downstairs and announced on Twitter, "NY here I come." Wall replied via Twitter, "wat [sp] time u get here?" Booker told Wall that he'd get in later in the afternoon.

Booker then called the car service that was supposed to take him to the airport, wondering why it was running so late. Booker was informed that he was scheduled to leave on Monday. Booker checked his itinerary and replied to Wall, "[never mind], I just found out my flight is tomorrow morning lol." Then he announced to his followers, "Was down stairs, bags packed, waiting for my ride then realized I leave tomorrow."

Booker told me that he simply took his bags back upstairs but was disappointed that he had to wait another day. "I was ready to see some of my friends," Booker said.

The 6-foot-7 Booker averaged 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in five summer league games last July, having his best outing when Wall and JaVale McGee sat out the finale and he scored 15 points and seven rebounds in a loss to the Knicks. "During summer league, I was just getting a feel for the game, feel for the plays and the defense we ran," Booker said. "I think I did okay in summer league. I could've did better."

But Booker's summer in Las Vegas didn't end in summer league. He participated in the developmental camp of Denver Nuggets assistant coach Tim Grgurich, where several NBA stars and some rookies, including former VCU star Larry Sanders, worked on their games in spirited five-on-five scrimmages. Booker said he shared a team with San Antonio forward Richard Jefferson, who offered a lot of advice. "I tore it up out there. I got a lot of confidence out there and I'm looking to take it into the season," Booker said. "I mean, I rebounded the ball, I scored the ball, they ran plays for me, I scored the ball. I just played great."

A few days after the Grgurich camp, Booker received his degree from Clemson in parks, recreation and tourism management. Booker said he has already found an apartment in Virginia and is slowly starting to get acclimated with his new surroundings. "It's not too different. I prepared for it a little bit in college," Booker said. "I'm adjusting pretty well."

By Michael Lee  |  August 19, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Kevin Seraphin , Trevor Booker  
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Comments

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Posted by: peggybrad19 | August 19, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that when asked if he would play in the D-League, Seraphin responded "Absolutely not!" Went on to say the Wizards were very clear he would be on the big club, no DLeague. Or at least that's how it translated.

Posted by: divi3 | August 19, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure it's a mistake to compare, but one ACC coach said at one point that Booker reminded him of the young Shawn Marion. Of course Marion has become much more of a jump shooter and defensive ace as he got older, but he was a factor when he came into the league, both on the boards and scoring inside.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 19, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Booker is going to a really solid player. If he proves quick enough to guard the threes that's where he'll find a future home, but he's not going to back away from guarding or rebounding against taller guys that he'll see as a 4. He'll be a really nice addition as a combo forward for now.

The guy is a great athlete who spent little time on the perimeter because he was always his team's best down low guy.
If expands his shooting range like most guys do as they mature he'll have a real nice game for a 3.

He's going to be able pound the ball down low on most threes, and is quick in transition. It's been a long time since the Wizards have had a guy that's that's a wide body forward like Greg Ballard or "Truck" Robinson. Booker a tough rebounder like those guys were, and he will out run either one of those guys in transtion.

I watched him quite a bit in the ACC and he's a really solid player that never backed away from anybody including Tyler Hansbrough when he was the ACC resident bully. He's a guy that was always a tough competitor, if you're routing for the other team, you don't want to see Booker.

Wiz fans are going to like this guy and his game...
GM
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 19, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I was a big proponent of the Booker pick, and I still am. However,after seeing Pondexter play the Wiz in summer league, I'm going to be comparing the two. Booker's jumper really impressed, but I was underwhelmed by his rebounding. He's got to have an impact on the glass.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 19, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I already like the fact that Booker went right from Summer League into another learning situation.

I've probably paid more attention this offseason than any other, but it seems to me like more Wizards are participating in offseason training opportunities this year than others I can remember. Or maybe I'm just hearing about it more. Arenas has always been a worker. It sounded like AB was putting good time in before his injury. McGee obviously playing Summer League and the unexpected opportunity with Team USA, but he had been working on his conditioning and strength before that. And now Booker with Gurg's camp.

Whether it's the player's doing it on their own or the organization is directing them to these opportunities, hopefully it's a trend that continues and increases going forward.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I just can't get warm to the fact that he is only 6'7". To be that height and to get drafted where he was indicates a quality player that hasn't materialized in anything that I have seen.

To me, he isn't a better prospect than Tyler Hansbrough and nobody said last year that the Wizards should draft Hansbrough as high as we drafted Booker this year.

Is my memory bad, or, am I just missing something.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Hansborough got drafted #13.

I think anyone would've taken him if he slid to 23.

Hansborough's game doesn't translate well to the NBA. I think Booker's does much better.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 19, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Whether it's the player's doing it on their own or the organization is directing them to these opportunities, hopefully it's a trend that continues and increases going forward.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 11:08 AM

Hopefully it is both and if the organization has anything to do with it, it is a huge plus. Organization IMO hasn't exactly been stellar in the past, but now if it is making and doing those things that winning organizations do, the Wizards could be an enormously surprising Team.

Organizations must realize that today with the ever changing leverage swinging to the player, they must become stellar to keep and to lure the best players in the League.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you ts...this is the first time I heard of a player going to a camp after summer league. Either way it's very impressive for Booker. Senior players do tend to show a little bit more maturity though.

A little literature:
http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/steve_aschburner/08/03/grgurich.feature/

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 19, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hansborough got drafted #13.

I think anyone would've taken him if he slid to 23.

Hansborough's game doesn't translate well to the NBA. I think Booker's does much better.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 19, 2010 11:41 AM

Hansborough as well as Lawson went higher than they were projected and certainly most here did not consider them as a better pick than Booker was this year. Of the three of them, Booker would be considered last in my book.

Now you can say Booker's game might transfer better than Hansbrough, but the drawback is that Booker is short and he might not have the opportunity as much as Tyler will have to be as effective.

Time will tell. Booker may be just fine for the Wizards, but right now, for me, I think I don't see the cards for me to make any bets on him.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Bulletsforever has a couple of good posts today.

A Summary of Kevin Seraphin's Interview with French Publication USA Basketball

The Wizards and the NBA Developmental League: Will this be more than lip service?

And Rory White will be back to coach the Dakota Wizards.

White said his contact with Washington was less extensive, but still positive.

I got to talk to Sam Cassell, who coached their Summer League team, and he'll keep me in the loop," he said. "Once they start getting geared up in September, I'm sure I'll get in touch with (head coach) Flip Saunders.

Posted by: djnnnou | August 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Good piece of lit.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I just can't get warm to the fact that he is only 6'7". To be that height and to get drafted where he was indicates a quality player that hasn't materialized in anything that I have seen.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

He might have been drafted a little higher than players of his type (i.e. undersized or a bit or a tweener) usually are. But I think teams are starting to re-evaluate how they look at players. Usually at the end of the first round, teams are drafting either based on having a feeling about a certain player, or based on 'potential' which has usually been quantified by measurables...height, weight, athletic ability etc. But given the increase in players of Booker's type having success in the league over players with more 'upside', teams may be looking more at things like work ethic, toughness, etc, over pure measureables.

The usual NBA dictum is "You can't teach height." Teams may also be beginning to realize that you can't necessarily teach effort either.

Ernie did pretty much say that his athleticism (and the famous full court sprint time) got his attention, but also that when polling big guys they brought in about who defended them the toughest in the low post, Booker's name kept coming up.

Btw, Larry, one for the Odom "run and jump" files....

From Paul Pierce via the article about Tim Grgurich.

"This is probably the best workout that I'm going to get this summer, as far as being around coaches and other talented players," Pierce told the Globe then. "I always say I've got to be here. ... I'm not overly fast, I'm not jumping higher than everybody out here, but they're teaching the game, angles, and how to read different situations."

Obviously b-ball is an athletic game, but it's about more than that.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It must be my experience to put this French visa mess off on the Wizards. Haven't we known from day one that this fella was having visa problems.

Once the Wiz's bought out Kevin's contract, they should have ensured that his visa problems was being worked out, even if they had to hire someone in France to do it.

Way back in summer league, I made it a point to mention that French player we haven't seen with no work visa who could not even make the French Team.

I have dealt with passports and visa's and you can't leave anything to chance. Seems we stubbed our toe again on this one.

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Now he has to wait till next year to go to the Rookie transition camp.

Will he have a visa by then???

Certainly no one in the Wizard camp knows or is working the issue.

Is it a small thing that our 2nd pick, 17th overall doesn't have a visa yet to leave France???

No, it isn't, it is a huge red flag about how you handle/conduct your business.

Winners have to win 24/7. Murphy's Law let's you know to be on your game 24/7.

Hell, why do yawl' think BulletsFan78 is so hard on the Team.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I was born and raised a die-hard Clemson fan so I've watched nearly every basketball game of Booker's career, and his game will translate to the NBA. He's an unorthodox player, but he is talented. His offensive game isn't going to blow you away, but if he got 25 minutes per game I could easily see him getting 10 points per, on high %'s.

You can take it to the bank that he'll be an excellent defender, probably our best right off the bat. Hustle, toughness and a willingness to play defense translate pretty well to the NBA.

Posted by: TDAV | August 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Booker's game might transfer better than Hansbrough, but the drawback is that Booker is short
If your concern is height, Booker is six foot six and a quarter w/o shoes, Hansbrough is two inches taller at six eight and a quarter, advantage Hansbrough. Though Hansbrough has a 1 3/4" wingspan advantage, (math and anatomical understanding can't explain the following but according to Draftexpress) they both have the same standing reach at 8'10" and Booker's standing vertical is 31" and max vertical is 36" compared to Hansbrough's 27.5 and 34.
Booker is faster and considered to be more athletic.

Posted by: midlevex_ | August 19, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Though Hansbrough has a 1 3/4" wingspan advantage, (math and anatomical understanding can't explain the following but according to Draftexpress) they both have the same standing reach at 8'10"

Depends on other variables too, such as how long of a neck / big of a head / shape of your shoulders, etc. Basically, Booker's shoulders may be higher on his frame than Hansborough's.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Between the two of them, the odds are higher that Booker has a productive nba career than Seraphin. Obviously Seraphin was drafted on upside which is fine and it's how teams operate, but Booker has come up the traditional route and had 4yrs of ACC ball. He's played against many of the guys he'll see in the league, less of a leap for him even if his upside is supposedly lower.

This is not a knock on Seraphin, just an observation about Booker

Posted by: divi3 | August 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

broader shoulders will give you a bigger wingspan but not a longer standing reach

Posted by: divi3 | August 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Wingspan also factors in how broad your shoulders are, which might also be some of where Tyler gets a greater wingspan measurement without necessarily gaining more standing reach.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Btw, Larry, one for the Odom "run and jump" files....

From Paul Pierce via the article about Tim Grgurich.

"This is probably the best workout that I'm going to get this summer, as far as being around coaches and other talented players," Pierce told the Globe then. "I always say I've got to be here. ... I'm not overly fast, I'm not jumping higher than everybody out here, but they're teaching the game, angles, and how to read different situations."

Obviously b-ball is an athletic game, but it's about more than that.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 12:39 PM

You know ts35, I understand very well that the game is quite a bit more than run and jump. But in my quest to indicate that McGee does not have a low BBall IQ atall, I am drawing a very fine line.

Some of the postings here have not made the distinction between McGee being a dumb player, or just dumb and BBall IQ.

You see I am of the opinion, just as Pierce is indicating by him coming six years to this camp that it is a learning experience overtime to become a good all around player.

Now when Pierce showed up that first year his mental capacity to learn is about the same as it is now. But what he has learned since then is everchanging to this very day.

Now some might argue, that his BBall IQ also is everchanging and that makes him a better player. Agreed. And I think, that is where you stand as well.

But there have been some statements here that are indicating that McGee is a dumb player/has a low mental capacity, under the guise of BBall IQ.

Even Odom's statement does not pass the test. If you break Odom's statement down he is actually saying that McGee is a dumb player.

Calling a player dumb does not go to BBall IQ, but to a players intelligence. Making mistakes on the basketball court does not mean you have low intelligence.

Now some like yourself and others might really be referring BBall IQ, something attainable through experience, practice, and training. But a fella that is just dumb will not achieve a high level of BBall IQ.

McGee has been accused of being just plain ole' dumb and that is why I am taking the stand that I am.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 19, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Booker is faster and considered to be more athletic.Posted by: midlevex"

Hansbrough appears to be one of those athletes who jumps much better off a run-up than from a standing position. Booker is more the springs-in-his-legs type. I think only Wes Johnson outjumped him from a standing start among forwards in this class.

On the wingspan, aren't your arms spread so the measurement includes your chest?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I hear what you're saying, and I think we're not necessarily that far apart.

Even Odom's statement does not pass the test. If you break Odom's statement down he is actually saying that McGee is a dumb player.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

However, I do think you're reading too much into Odom's statement. I didn't get the sense that he was calling the kid dumb, just uneducated about some of the finer points of hoops, which I think is a fair statement, especially from someone who has spent some time with him.

Here's Odom's whole quote from this article
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/13/AR2010081306114.html

"He's not here by accident or mistake. He's one of the most athletic players I've ever seen in my life," said Odom, an 11-year NBA veteran who went over some individual low post drills with McGee during practice on Friday. "He's 7-1, got like a David Robinson build, springs off the floor real quick, goes over the rim. If he can just get his feel for the game together, he can have an impact on a team. Because the game is called basketball, not run and jump."

Sounds like overall, he's being a lot more complimentary than derogatory.

As for trying to changes the minds of any of the posters here, um....welll good luck with that ;-)

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Between the two of them, the odds are higher that Booker has a productive nba career than Seraphin. Obviously Seraphin was drafted on upside which is fine and it's how teams operate, but Booker has come up the traditional route and had 4yrs of ACC ball. He's played against many of the guys he'll see in the league, less of a leap for him even if his upside is supposedly lower.

This is not a knock on Seraphin, just an observation about Booker

Posted by: divi3

Generally speaking, I agree with that (short of seeing Seraphin actually play). Seraphin right now presents as a guy with more 'upside' based primarily on his size, while Booker imo presents as probably a guy with a lower ceiling, but also a higher floor. By which I mean that he doesn't appear as likely to be a big time player, but he also looks like someone who will at least be a productive role player for a long time. With Seraphin, I like the little that I've seen, but there does seem to be, generically speaking, more potential for him to be a bust.

Posted by: ts35 | August 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin-played 2 years in the Euroleague

Booker played 4 years in the ACC

IMHO
Both of their games are similar.

I think Booker is more effective this year.
Sariphin will take a while to get it - but can eventually become a reasonable contributor in a couple of years. He will get lot of DNP_CD's this season.

Posted by: VBFan | August 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin's draft position was based on literally one performance, the Nike game. He said it was that game that made him decide to enter the draft, and it was that game that immediately put him into the mid-to-lower 1st round. One game. That's a risky pick, but such is the art of the draft.

Booker imo is a real nice insurance pick a few spots later. 4yrs of film and results, not to mention countless camps, h.s. stuff, exhibitions, etc, etc. Known quantity that will be in the league for some years, and will contribute from Day1

Picking the both of them can be seen as a well-rounded strategy

Posted by: divi3 | August 19, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin's draft position was based on that one game against the US players in what, 2009? Far as I know, that's the only game he played against them.

That's as much, or maybe a little more, than NBA GMs have when they go to evaluate young kids like Roddy Beaubois or Nick Batum before the draft.

That's the problem with drafting young foreign players. You haven't seen much of them, and they probably haven't gotten much playing time behind those older players in the European leagues.

By the way, Beaubois broke his foot in early August training with the French team and is expected to miss 2-3 months.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 19, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Is Booker the only left-handed player on the Wizards roster?

That has to work to his advantage in terms of floor spacing and sweet spots offensively.

Defensively, the guy always gives max effort. No worries there.

Posted by: elfreako | August 19, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

maybe he can teach AB to make a left handed layup, that would increase his scoring 4pts a game immediately

Posted by: divi3 | August 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks guys, some nice links with some interesting information, good reading.

Larry, If McGee is just smart enough to figure out that at his level, he doesn't even know, what he doesn't know yet. Then he'll be ok.

The funny thing about basketball is that by the time most guys really excell at the mental side of the game their body's start to break down on them. Kobe's at that point now, and Jordan was when he was a Wizard.

It's funny to hear Odom commenting on McGee's upside, because I remember once opon a time Odom was that guy with the freakish talent and upside. Took him a while to mature while learning the game in the league to.

Simple way to look at Booker's ability to work in the post.
Guys that can gain leverage in the post are the hardest to defend, or score against. If you're tall, coaches are constantly teaching post players to flex their knees and drop their butt to gain leverage on your man.

Booker's already got a natural edge on a tall guy in gaining leverage, and he's got strength in his legs and butt that a tall guy isn't going to match. He's already spent 4 years of college looking up at some pretty talented guys in the post, so the NBA's not going to phase him a whole lot. He often guarded the other team's center, and he's 6'6" without shoes.

He's always shown flashes of having an open floor game, but never got to show it much at Clemson, so it'll be interesting to see how well he plays in space. If he can play in space some, I think he'll have an excellent transition to the Pros.

If the Wizards allow N'Diaye to sign in Europe, the extent of their use the D League would seem to be the use of the 15th spot to conduct some in season tryouts of D League players throughout the year.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 19, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm really interested in seeing Booker and Seraphin playing together on the court. On paper, their games sound similar - slightly undersized for their position, but make up for it with athletics. They've also got reputations as bangers, and they were in the same area in terms of draft position (though I feel both should've been drafted about 5 slots after where they were). However, Booker is significantly faster and more mobile than Seraphin, while Seraphin is bigger (possibly stronger?) and has more of a post up game.

Posted by: TDAV | August 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Quick clarification.

Seraphin played two years in the French A League, and did not see much playing time until later last season. His team won the league and will be playing in the Europleague this season, but he does not have two years' Euroleague experience.

The reason Seraphin seems so explicit about not playing in the D League is that by passing up a shot at Euroleague (which is the second highest level of competition in basketball after the NBA, and way better than the D League) he feels he merits a guaranteed roster slot on the Wizards. The Wizards apparently agreed.

Anyway, if Seraphin compares to Serge Ibaka and Booker is the second coming of Truck Robinson, Wizard fans will have a lot to be happy about!

Posted by: khrabb | August 20, 2010 4:28 AM | Report abuse

"at Euroleague (which is the second highest level of competition in basketball after the NBA, and way better than the D League)"

the D-League champs might give Regal Barcelona everything they could handle. Juan Carlos Navarro is the Euro MVP afterall

Posted by: divi3 | August 20, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I really like both these picks. Being an ACC fan (MD) and my dad a Clemson alum I watched alot of Booker and really hoped we'd get him in the draft. I think he can transition to SF in the league, he is a rock solid 6-7 lefty who defends, is physical, hustles, and can get up and down the floor with Wall speed. He has some good offensive game and was Clemson's go to guy, he's got a good jumper and can hit the 3 which will improve IMO. But he immediately fills a needed role on this team, and worst case he's a better version of Dominic McGuire for us.

Posted by: Darnell1 | August 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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