June 6, 2015

Booker not done growing

Kevin McCarthy

When you stand 6-foot-9 as a junior and have added three inches of height each year of high school, college recruiters should be paying attention. Anthony Booker is the name, out of Chavez High in Stockton and currently running with the BFS Blackout Elite travel team.

photo of Anthony Booker

Yes, being a 6-foot freshman three years ago probably resulted in some impatience for Booker but he knew some degree of growth was ahead for him. After all, his father stands 6-foot-8. There was also this element: “I was a chubby kid with baby fat” but he has since molded himself into a svelte 215 pounds.

Now as he advances into summer ball with an eye on next season (after an 18-11, 8-2 San Joaquin Athletic Association 2014-15 finish), Booker is ready to blossom.

“My jumper inside the paint to 19 feet is my best tool,” Booker offered. But don't discount his defensive presence both as a shotblocker and help defender plus his ability to run the floor. "Improving my conditioning allows me to run the floor better and guards will find you for dunks.”

Now solely a basketball player, Booker started out with that sport alongside baseball and football. However, "the first time I played basketball I fell in love with it and quit the other sports.”

He did receive a scare early this high school season as a hip break sidelined him. "I missed a month, month and a half but my first play back was a dunk.”

Noting a difference in how he is used, Booker said, "in high school, I'm the biggest so I'm oriented to the paint. But with my AAU coach, I also shoot from the perimeter and bring the ball up the court.”

Here's BFS Blackout Elite Coach Andre Green on his big: "Anthony Booker is a beast inside the paint. He has greatly improved on his footwork and his physicality around the rim this year. Anthony is a very coachable athlete who has a great basketball IQ and is fundamentally sound which he uses to his advantage. He is a 6-foot-9 student-athlete who is versatile and showcases these skills; doing a drop step baseline dunk, hitting a mid-range jump shot after a high pick and roll, then running the floor, denying the passing lanes in a press defense, plus blocking multiple shots per game. He has positioned himself to be a complete ‘Big Man’ player at the college level.”

Booker is performing very well academically. "The most important thing in my family is education and I take it very seriously.” He latest grade point average was 3.75 and he usually finishes between that and 4.0.

Size, skills and smarts—that's an alluring combination.