Junior to compete for spot on national team

Basketball standout Xavier Booker earns recognition

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Cat Madden

Mr. Dave Worland presents junior Xavier Booker with the Class 4A State champion medal.

Luke Spencer, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team is fresh off of winning its first State championship since 1998 and becoming the first private school in Indiana history to win a 4A State title.

Although the high school season has ended, the grind to bring more hardware to the trophy cases on the Hill has already begun for the team members who will not graduate on May 22 and who will return next year. These underclassmen and rising seniors have begun playing for their respective AAU teams, competing every weekend in tournaments across the state and even the nation. 

These tournaments help young athletes to gain exposure to college coaches that would not have been possible during their high school season. Every year, players across the country see their recruitment take major leaps due to their play during the AAU circuit. For the last year, one of these players has been junior Xavier Booker. 

Booker, a rising senior, was essential to the team’s success this year, averaging 12.5 points per game along with 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. Among his many impressive feats was a 19-point, 14-rebound, nine-block performance against Ben Davis in the Regional championship.

Booker is a highly touted recruit, and he has been even before this past season started. Due to his play during the 2021 spring and summer AAU seasons, along with his 6-foot, 10-inch frame and ability to stretch the floor, Booker received upwards of 15 offers to play college basketball before his junior season began. Among these offers were Purdue, Illinois and Iowa, which were all ranked in the Top 25 in the nation at the end of the 2021-22 season. 

Booker’s play during the high school season and the start of his AAU season has garnered him even more attention from colleges. Booker has been playing for George Hill All Indy, a team that competes in the NY2LA circuit, and travels to the biggest and most competitive tournaments in the country each weekend. The team is sponsored by current Milwaukee Bucks guard, former Indiana Pacer and Indianapolis native George Hill. 

Booker said he believes that playing in these tournaments is helping him to gain exposure from more national powerhouse colleges. He said, “We’ve been going to big tournaments, so I’m just performing well and more and more people are starting to see me and my recruitment is starting to pick up a lot.” 

This increased exposure is already benefiting Booker, as he received an offer from reigning national champion Kansas on May 3 and is expecting even more to come. Booker said, “I’m talking to Duke right now. They’re supposed to offer me pretty soon.” 

Along with the Kansas offer, his biggest so far, Booker has received more big news in the last few weeks. On May 10, it was announced that Booker would be among 27 players chosen to compete for a spot on the U18 USA Basketball national team. He is one of only 14 players from the Class of 2023 that were selected.

As a part of this group, Booker will travel to Dallas from May 26 to June 2 in order to compete at the national team’s training camp. The best performers from this camp will be selected for the 12 spots on the USA Basketball U18 National Team, which will compete at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Tijuana, Mexico from June 6 through June 12. 

Among the group of 27 are five players ranked in the top 20 in the nation for the Class of 2022 according to 247 Sports, as well as five from the top 20 in the class of 2023. Booker is ranked 103rd in the nation, and will be looking to raise his stock in Dallas

Booker was selected to attend the camp due to his participation in a different camp this spring. He said, “I was actually invited to (the U18 national team) minicamp about a month ago in New Orleans. If you would’ve done well in that, you would’ve been invited to play for the team, and I did.”

Booker believes that through this experience with the national team, he will be exposed to both college and professional scouts which will help him reach his long term goal of playing in the NBA. He said, “I feel like (playing with the team) will definitely help me out a lot in my recruitment and eventually getting NBA agents and scouts to see me.”