The monthlong outburst for Phoenix rookie
For Booker, March has been an awakening as the 6-foot-6 shooting guard proved himself as one of the
As the media gathered around him inside the
"I'm still trying to figure it out, honestly," Booker said. "That's one thing about the NBA, it's about consistency. I know there have been a lot of rookies that have been in this league and had a good first year and the next years you never hear about them again.
"It's just consistency every night in, every night out. You never know what can happen in this league. Opportunities open for other people, opportunities can get shut down quick. You just have to stay focused and take it one day at a time."
Booker easily could be impressed with himself because he became the youngest Suns player ever to make a start, at 19 years 24 days, when he was in the lineup against San Antonio on Nov. 23. He's improved steadily throughout his rookie season. In March, he has averaged 22.2 points and five assists per game.
"I'm happy about with my progress, but I'm never satisfied," Booker said. "I know I can always grow and that's what I'm trying to do."
After the Suns made Booker a lottery selection with the 13th pick out of
"The first day I saw him playing pickup, he carried himself differently than your typical rookie," Chandler recalled. "He carried himself more as a four-year college player rather than a one-year, 18-year-old at the time, coming into this league."
Suns interim Coach
"I just think Devin has a throwback mentality," Watson said. "He can handle the ball as well as catch-and-shoot at the two-guard position. He could be something special."
The Suns have asked a lot from Booker. They have played him at his natural shooting-guard position. But they've also inserted him at point guard, forcing Booker to run the offense because Phoenix has had so many injuries to its backcourt.
Booker admitted it can be a "tough balance" trying to perform both duties, but said he has worked hard at both roles.
"I like the fact that he has a really good all-around game," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. "He can get assists, he can pass the ball, rebounds the ball, he can shoot it from three, he can get to the basket, he's got a nice little midrange game. He's got a complete game. Our scouts and our coaches who scout Phoenix, they really think this kid is going to get better and better. They've got a gem over there."
As Booker was growing up in the small Gulf Coast city of Moss Point, Miss., he was always able to turn to his dad for guidance.
Melvin Booker was a point guard in the NBA, playing short stints with Houston, Denver and
"He was like the blueprint for me growing up," Devin said. "He knew what I was trying to reach and the goals I wanted to reach. He always used to say he wanted me to be better than him. I used to always say I wanted to be just like him, be a professional basketball player. He gave me so many tips and secrets that most kids don't get to have."
Nevertheless, for Booker to make this quick an impact in the NBA is somewhat of a surprise.
He didn't start in any of the 38 games he played at Kentucky during the 2014-15 season. Booker was
But Booker has been impressive throughout his rookie season, even though he can be a bit star struck. He recalled his first start in November against the
"It was an amazing feeling, because I grew up being fans of these guys," Booker said. "Now I'm on the same court as them. I have to pretend I'm not excited, keep my calm, composure. But at the same time, that brings out the best in you, brings out my competitive nature. You just respect them. But at the same time, I try to make my own way. Hopefully that's what I can do."