Devon Bookert ain’t messing around this year.
The Florida State University basketball player from Anchorage has big plans in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I want to be the best point guard in the conference,” he told me. “I’m trying to leave my mark here.”
Bookert certainly has all the makings to be special.
The 6-foot-3 junior standout is a dynamite shooter – in fact, he owns the best 3-point single-season percentage [.525] in school history.
He has experience [40 starts in last 49 games]. He takes care of the ball [1.5-to-1 assist to turnover ratio]. And he is already considered to be good [named to Bob Cousey Award watch list for second straight year].
It all starts behind the scenes, when the bright lights are off and nobody is watching.
“You have to prepare to be great,” he said. “There is greatness in preparation. The better you prepare the better you will do.”
Bookert, of West High fame, has earned a reputation for going hard in practice and going even harder in games.
“You go all-out so you’re conditioning is top notch,” he said. “It’s worth it to go hard because I know that will carry over to the game.”
Last season he sank two game-winning, buzzer-beaters – first to beat Northeastern at the Puerto Rico Shootout and then a second time to knock off Minnesota during the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple.
This 21-year-old has a knack for making big plays.
“You have to have an aggressive mindset,” Bookert said. “I’m more aggressive when it comes to making plays for the team, whether it’s an open shot or battling for the ball.”
Bookert admits he feels the pressure to get the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament. Not only has he missed out the last two years, but he’s feeling the pressure from other Florida State sports teams.
“Soccer was ACC champion. Volleyball was ACC champion. Football is probably going to be ACC champion,” he said. “We want to win conference and be one of the best teams in the country.”