PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Askia Booker was one of the hottest players in the league right out of the gate to start the 2016-17 NBA Development League campaign.
Playing in his second D-League season coming off of a standout four-year career at the University of Colorado, it was hard not to notice the Northern Arizona Suns starting point guard.
In the first five games, Booker scored at least 15 points in every contest and averaged 23.8 points. He also found the open man, posting a 5.8 assist average in the first five games, leading the Suns to a 4-1 record to start their inaugural season, with their only loss coming in double overtime in Los Angeles.
So what happened after the first five games?
Well, Booker injured his groin and missed a bit of time. Altogether, it caused him to miss eight games on the year.
He said after the season that it was a nagging injury the whole year, and if that’s the case, then a fully healthy Askia Booker is flat-out scary. He finished third on the team (behind current NBA players) with 15.5 points per game, while leading the team with 5.3 assists per game. He also posted a 4.0 rebounds per game average while getting 1.2 steals per game.
Even while being hampered, Booker earned votes to the D-League Prospect Watch List five weeks on the year, making it as far as the 26th ranked prospect to watch at one time.
Big shots like this will get you noticed.
Askia Booker called GAME pic.twitter.com/kwVhDTXxEi
— Northern AZ Suns (@nazsuns) March 10, 2017
Now the 23-year-old will be taking his talents to Chicago to try to impress NBA personnel at the D-League Elite Mini Camp on May 8-9. The eighth annual two-day scouting event will be Booker’s second straight opportunity to prove what he can do in advance of the Summer League and NBA training camps.
Last year, Booker participated in the camp at the Quest Multisport gym, doing enough there that he was invited to be a member of the Phoenix Suns 2016 Summer League team, where he played with current NAZ Suns teammates Michael Bryson and Derek Cooke Jr.
Booker played in all six games with Phoenix, tallying 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 11.0 minutes per game.
Now with some time off to get the body rested, two years of D-League experience and an offseason full of NBA activities under his belt, entering this second straight Elite Mini Camp, teams might want to pay attention for what he’s about to do.