Before Devin Booker attended Kentucky, he was regarded as, at-best, a top-25 player.
He didn’t even crack the top five at his position, as 247 Sports had him ranked as the eighth-best shooting guard in his class. But Booker exited Kentucky’s program as a lottery pick, and going into his second season in the league he’s one of the top 100 players in the NBA.
Booker’s meteoric rise from high school, to college, to the NBA makes for a great story, so of course John Calipari is using it when he speaks to recruits.
Trae Young recently told USA Today that Booker’s success story was the best story he heard during his in-home visits. Here’s what Young had to say about the story.
He told me a story about when they were recruiting Devin Booker it was understood that he was going to be on a three-year plan. He was gonna be there three years and then he was gonna leave for the NBA. His parents knew that and everything. Well, Coach Cal put him through a couple workouts when he got there and called his dad and said, “He’s gone this year. He’s out. He’s not coming back.” It was crazy because Coach Cal said his dad was still saying he planned on being there three years, but Coach Cal said no he was gone. He ended up being a lottery pick and he’s gonna be a franchise player. He just knew after a workout or two. Crazy.
The fact that Booker went in planning to develop his game in three years, and Calipari saw him as NBA ready after just a couple of workouts is indeed “crazy.” Judging by Booker’s success in the NBA thus far, Calipari is a pretty good surveyor of NBA ready talent. I’m sure Cal would love to tell future recruits about how Trae Young was ready for the NBA after one workout at Kentucky as well.