2023 striker Xavier Booker impressed with Indiana go to, coach talks improvement – The Every day Hoosier

CARMEL – Cathedral Center Xavier Booker left his unofficial visit to Indiana this week with not only a scholarship offer, but a keen sense of how the Hoosiers would work under new coach Mike Woodson.

As with almost every new signing Indiana has followed and followed under Woodson to date, during Booker’s visit the Hoosiers emphasized the importance of developing relationships between the players and the coaching staff, and that is what impressed the 6-foot most – 10, 205 pounds ascending junior.

“They love building relationships with the players,” Booker said Saturday at the IBCA / IHSAA Showcase in the Memory of Charlie Hughes at Carmel High School. “He showed videos of him while coaching the New York Knicks. He showed that many of their players said good things about him. It really meant a lot to see that. “

Booker is quickly gaining attention nationwide, even if its game is still a bit raw. Along with Indiana, he has offers from Kansas State, Louisville, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Purdue, and he said he’s new to hear from Gonzaga, Michigan, Michigan State, and Xavier. Purdue head coach Matt Painter was in Carmel on Saturday and Sunday to see Booker, Kenya Hunter was representing the Indiana coaching staff on Saturday, and Woodson and Dane Fife came to see him on Sunday.

The coaches who now come to see Booker’s play clearly see a player trying to expand his game. Cathedral has a full roster of more polished Division One recruits who surround Booker in the area. He’s not dominating the action right now, but he’s proving his game can expand from the post to the outside.

“We always refer to you having four quarters in a game, you have four years in high school, he’s now at halftime,” said Cathedral coach Jason Delaney. “He made adjustments and now it is time for you to see those adjustments. He’ll be an even better player for the next two years. This summer you will get insights into things you haven’t seen in the past due to his hard work. He just keeps getting better. “

Booker tries to show that he’s not afraid to handle or shoot the ball on the perimeter, and he’s also not afraid to defend there. Against Fort Wayne Snider in his Saturday morning game, he hit a 3-point shot and tried several more, and Delaney allowed him to hit the ball more than once. He also made sure he moved to the perimeter to guard wings so he could get a better feel for how to hold smaller players in front of him.

“Defensively, we want him to be able to guard positions 1 to 5,” said Delaney. “It’s a challenge when you’re 6-11 years old and able to do these things. But that will help him along the way. For all of our guys, the more things you do, the better you get. So we expect him to guard all positions on the ground. Get the rebound, start taking a break. On the offensive, we want him to move a little more. Not just posting, but leaving some screens, requesting some screens, and dribbling drive movements, that’s what we’re trying to do. It worked for us and now it’s just about him doing some of the things he hasn’t done in his life. That’s what summer is for. “

On Sunday, Booker passed a major test against Gary West Side’s 2022 5-star Jalen Washington, and he has had a strong performance with coaches from Notre Dame, North Carolina and dozens of others who joined the and Purdue coaches are. Booker had 13 points and Washington scored nine as the two often clashed face to face. Booker was impressive in transition, ending up on the edge with a gentle touch at full speed several times, and blocking Washington’s shot at least once and interfering with other attempts. Booker seemed highly motivated to face a high profile player like Washington, and with a much larger supporting cast, Cathedral easily won the game.

(Mike Schumann contributed to this report.)

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