Coming out of the University of Kentucky in 2015, no one knew quite what to expect from Devin Booker. The Wildcats had a massive group of players making the jump to the NBA level including Karl-Anthony Towns who went one pick (No. 1) ahead of Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell.
In his short time with the Phoenix Suns, Booker has made an impression as one of the most promising young players in the NBA. Booker, who was taken 13th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, appears to have a bright future ahead with Suns head coach Earl Watson comparing him to Kobe Bryant, via ESPN’s Justin Verrier:
“Watching that reminded me of things that Kobe [Bryant] would do,” Watson said. “Not just the athleticism and getting to the rim, but how Kobe was so skilled offensively he could just take over a quarter.
“Only an elite player can do that.”
Booker, who received quite the motivational message from Kobe last year, said that he plans on following in those footsteps:
“I got the chance to talk to Kobe for a minute. I’m more of a visual learner. I just watch people. You hear stories about Kobe throughout the NBA, about LeBron, on the mindset they take to the floor and the extra work that they put in. If I want to be great, you have to follow those footsteps. Every great I hear about has crazy stories of work ethic, something they do in the gym, something they do in the training room. I just try to stay focused and know the goal that’s at hand.”
Booker is one of many young players that tried to soak up the knowledge from Bryant in the future Hall of Famer’s last season. The five-time NBA champion was approached on a seemingly nightly basis during his farewell tour with everyone wanting to get some advice from the legendary guard.
Bryant’s former teammate Julius Randle is still benefiting from the experience and knowledge of the Lakers legend with the third-year forward recently saying he still works out with Kobe. Randle, like Booker, also trying to following in the footsteps of one of the best players to ever pick up a basketball.