PHOENIX – Devin Booker is 19 going on 29. That’s how Tyson Chandler sees his young Phoenix Suns teammate.
The rookie guard from Kentucky has already made his mark in the NBA, becoming the third youngest player to score 30 points. His company: Lebron James and Kevin Durant.
Booker will show off his skills during All-Star Weekend in Toronto when he competes in The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest Saturday. Thursday he got a bonus when he was selected to replace Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers in Friday’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
At Booker’s three-point practice Tuesday against local TV reporters, he shot off the rack to prepare.
“Shooting off the rack is a lot different than shooting in the game,” Booker said. “It’s a whole different skill so it’s something you have to get used to. I think I’ll be fine.”
Booker has eyed the three-point contest since he was a kid.
“I’ve always wanted to do this in my career, but I didn’t know this was going to happen this early. I’m just looking forward to everything just being around all the stars, the people I grew up watching, the Kobe Bryants, Steph Currys, Kevin Durants, and just being around them, knowing I am in the same All-Star Weekend as them.”
Suns interim head coach Earl Watson likes what he sees in the team’s youngest player.
“He is still developing,” Watson said. “Devin is 19. We expect a lot out of Devin. One thing we do not let him do is take short cuts. He’s far away from even having a definition as far as a playmaker.”
Booker will also be among honorary coaches for the fifth NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game in Toronto. Booker said it’s all about giving back and putting smiles on faces.
“That’s what I try to do every time I hit the court, so when I’m off the court I try to do the same thing.”