July 13, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Former Clemson basketball standout and current Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker has been in town recently training at Littlejohn Coliseum. Booker completed his rookie season in the NBA in 2010-11, averaging 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over 65 appearances. He started 14 games and shot 55 percent from the field, while adding 42 blocked shots. His season was cut short after he suffered a foot injury against the Denver Nuggets on Mar. 25.Booker finished the 2010-11 season with 10 double-figure scoring games and five double-doubles. His best game was against Toronto on Mar. 18 when he posted 26 points and 13 rebounds and made 12-of-15 shots from the field.Booker was a first-team All-ACC player as a senior in 2009-10 and finished his career fifth in Clemson history with 1,725 points and third with 1,060 rebounds. He also blocked 249 shots, fourth-most by a Tiger basketball player. He was drafted No. 23 overall, the first senior taken in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft.Booker, who cited Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant as the toughest player he had to defend during his rookie season, sat down with ClemsonTigers.com for a short question-and-answer session Tuesday afternoon.Q: What did you think of your rookie season in the NBA?Booker: “The guys in the NBA are obviously bigger, faster and stronger. Toward the beginning of the season, I was a little frustrated because I wasn’t getting the playing time that I wanted. Some of the veterans we had told me to hold my head high. So I did just that, and my playing time eventually came.”
Q: Was there one game in particular that stood out to you in terms of when you felt your role on the team increase?Booker: “The first game that really stands out in my mind was against the Lakers. They were the defending champions. Our starting power forward Andray Blatche was injured, but he still started. I got a lot of chances in that game (Dec. 7, 2010), and opened the coaches’ eyes a little bit.” (Note: Booker was 7-9 from the field and had his first ever double-digit scoring effort with 14 points)Q: Do you have any favorite dunks or memories from the season?Booker: “In the Minnesota game (Mar. 5, 2011), I had two follow dunks (see video below) that made a lot of highlight films.
I felt pretty good in the game against Toronto (when he scored a season-high 26 points). I started at the small forward position, so my confidence was high. At the end of the season, I was starting at the three before I injured my foot. Earlier in the season, I played the power forward spot. Next year, the plan is to move me more toward the three spot, with some power forward work as well. I feel comfortable at both positions, though.”
Q: What do you think of the Wizards’ makeup next season?Booker: “I think management was looking for defense. They also like players that can run. That’s why they drafted the two guys they did in the first round. We have a lot of players at the forward positions, but that will provide a lot of competition. That’s always good for a team.”Q: What was the biggest adjustment from college to the NBA?Booker: “It was definitely an adjustment to play so many more games than you do in college. I like to play more than practice, but 82 games is a long season. I got used to it.”Q: Did you have a veteran player or mentor that took you under his wing in Washington?Booker: “Josh Howard taught me a lot. He kept my head up when I wasn’t playing as much early in the season. He and I were already friends; I worked some of his camps in the past.”Q: Tell us about the Trevor Booker and Josh Howard TruBallers 5-on-5 Tournament in the city of Mauldin?Booker: “My manager, who is from Mauldin, used to attend Kevin Garnett’s events. And of course, Kevin grew up there as well. The tournament was at Springfield Park in Mauldin. I wanted to help keep the tradition alive. Getting a key to the city (on June 9) was a great feeling. I had a lot of family there to support me. We had a great turnout for the event. Basically, anyone who puts a team together can win up to $5,000 in prize money. We had teams from Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Florida – everywhere, really.”Q: You’re spending a lot of time rehabbing and training in Clemson, correct?Booker: “I’ll probably be training here during the (NBA) lockout. In August, I’ll probably move back down from D.C. I’ll continue to work out with (strength & conditioning coach) Preston (Greene) and the coaching staff.”Q: What are your initial impressions of Brad Brownell and his coaching staff?Booker: “They’re ready to do well. They know what they’re doing. It seems like they’re doing a pretty good job of recruiting. I like the way they played last year. They had a pretty good first season. On next year’s team, some players will have to play more than they expected to. But, I think they’ll do a pretty good job.”
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