Xavier Booker has officially ‘arrived’ on the grassroots basketball scene this spring, jumping from outside the top-75 to #4 in 247Sports' latest rankings. Pro Insight has been fortunate to see him multiple times this spring (he also stood out to us in June 2021 at Pangos All-American Camp) and the appeal to his game is crystal clear.
Booker is a rangy 4 and potential small-ball 5 with guard skills offensively and the ability to guard multiple positions while also acting as a weak side rim protector. He has a massive catch radius as a screen and lob threat, has the potential to be an elite floor spacer, and is hard to stop going downhill off the catch. Booker is also able to slide with a variety of players and his hips are fluid enough to change directions with shiftier players. Some of his many offers include Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Texas, and Michigan. Booker has also taken visits to Michigan State, Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Indiana.
In our interview at USA Basketball Men's U18 camp, Booker goes into his impressions of the camp, the recruitment process, takeaways from the increase in competition over the spring, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Xavier Booker from Indianapolis, Indiana:
Pro Insight: Congratulations on being selected to USAB training camp! What’s been your impression so far?
Xavier Booker: High energy. Lots of high level guys here. Great opportunity to be out here, obviously. I'm still getting used to playing with guys more high level, so I think I've been doing good rebounding, finishing and shooting.
PI: It's obviously been a big spring for you so far with you moving up to #4 in the 247 rankings. Has any of it been a surprise, or is it all something you expected?
XB: It's kinda what I expected. It's what I've been working on ever since school ball — just been really working and now it's paying off.
PI: What are you hoping to show, or prove, over these next few days?
XB: Just play with a lot of energy, rebounding, finishing, shooting, doing everything.
PI: Who have you most enjoyed playing with or against, in particular?
XB: Definitely GG Jackson. He was my roommate at minicamp in New Orleans and it's definitely been fun playing against him.
PI: What are you looking for in a college program, both on and off the court?
XB: Just somewhere I know I fit in, obviously academically and athletically. Also a place where I have a good relationship with the coaching staff and where I know I fit into the program.
PI: Is there a playstyle you prefer? Do you see yourself more as a 4 or 5, or does it not matter to you?
XB: Just making sure they utilize their bigs, really. I can do it all, but I see myself as a 4.
PI: Who have you been hearing most often from lately?
XB: Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, and Indiana.
PI: Any program you’d like to hear from that hasn’t reached out, yet?
XB: It was Kentucky, but they've been reaching out to me lately, so not anymore.
PI: What are your biggest goals over the next year?
XB: Working on my dribble pull-up and tightening up my handle, for sure. There's always stuff you can work on with that, but the handle and dribble pull-up are the big ones.
PI: Can you share a bit about your family, your background, and your basketball journey up to this point?
XB: I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. I was born there. We moved to Indiana when I was seven years old and have been living here ever since. I've mainly been playing the 5 my whole life and then over time, I started to see all these guys being able to shoot so I worked on it, developed it. That's really how I came out. Last spring was kinda my ‘blow-up’ spring and everything came my way and I just took advantage of the opportunity.
PI: What made you start playing basketball? Did you play any other sports growing up?
XB: It was mainly just basketball. I played football for a year or two growing up, but I didn't like it that much. Definitely what got me into playing basketball was my brothers. When I was four years old, I always saw them playing outside so I wanted to go out there and play. They let me play one day and I fell in love ever since.
PI: Who have been your biggest influences/role models?
XB: My brother, he was actually at USA back then. Definitely my dad, he's always encouraging me. Also, I look up to LeBron.
PI: Who are your top-5 all-time music artists?
XB: Gunna, Lil Baby, Rod Wave, Durk, and YB.
PI: What are your interests off the court?
XB: I just like hanging out with my friends, just having a good time.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
XB: I think it was my dad that told me this, he said "control everything that you can control."
PI: If basketball wasn’t an option, what’s a career that you think you’d pursue?
XB: Definitely broadcasting, more sports broadcasting. Be one of those guys like Shaq, Kenny Smith, just on the NBA pre-game shows, or announcing.
PI: What’s something most people have no idea about you?
XB: I play the piano.
PI: If you had one hashtag to describe yourself, what would it be and why?
XB: #BeHumble. Honestly, that's really it.
PI: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
XB: In the NBA, for sure.