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Booker on his UK team: “Not the best team, but the most talented team”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky standout Devin Booker is back in Lexington this weekend and spent Saturday conducting a youth camp at UK.

Booker was part of the 2014-15 team that started 38-0 before losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

That team had Karl-Anthony Towns, the NBA rookie of the year, and Trey Lyles, another first-round draft pick like Booker, in its freshman class. So was Tyler Ulis, the 34th pick in this year’s draft.

Willie Cauley-Stein was also a lottery pick off that Final Four team and Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and Dakari Johnson, who could all be in the NBA this year, were also on that team.

So how good was that team?

“Obviously, the 2012 (UK) team has the national championship, something that we wish we would have had, but I always say we were the most talented team,” Booker said.

But here’s the part I liked best and showed that Booker gets what is important.

“I always say we were the most talented team in college basketball history. Not the best team, because the best teams win championships, but the most talented team,” Booker said.

Put that way, it’s hard to argue against Booker’s logic.

2 comments

  1. TheProfessor

    I think Devin Booker has touched on an essential point. Basketball is a team sport, and the assemblage of individual talent that learns how to combine that into the best team they can be together is the primary goal each season. No question the 2015 assemblage had the greatest sum of individual talent I have ever seen, but a team must work to be greater than the sum of its parts, and that group did not quite get there.

    The 2015 group lacked synergy.

    Let’s hope the 2016-17 group learns that single lesson from Devin while working with him this summer. The 2015 group had synergy in spades, and MKG was the instrumental catalyst for that synergy. The 2015 group have that ring as a result.

  2. KingGhidora

    I will always think that team was actually too loaded with talent. Players don’t get to develop their skills as much when they have to share time with other great players. Sure they have killer pickup games in practice but games are just different. The best teams seem to have a nucleus of 7-8 players. I could pick several sets of 7-8 players from that 38-0 team that might have gelled better had they played more minutes. A player like Ulis would have developed more if he had played more. But he was behind some great talent. The options on that team were so great it would be hard to pick just 8 but I’m going to try just to make a point. I think a team with these players would have been a better team but there are so many variables there’s no way to be sure but here goes:

    PG – Tyler Ulis – he proved to be an incredible talent
    SG – Devin Booker – he will leave a huge mark on the game
    SF – Trey Lyles -a future NBA all star
    PF- WCS – a monster on defense
    C – KAT – the guy is going to be one of the all time greats

    front court reserve – Derek Willis – the guy has shown he can play the game given PT
    back court reserve – Andrew Harrison – a PG reserve is a must
    last guy on the depth chart before garbage time – Dakari Johnson – you can always use a talented 7 foot player

    I think that this nucleus had they played together most of the time would likely have won it all. They may not have gone 38-0 going into the final 4 but that really probably hurt the team – too much pressure.

    There were several other very talented players on that team but again, you can have too many. It starts to look like an All Star game at some point and that is almost always a sloppy thing to watch. Players need to learn to play roles even if they are the most talented guy on the floor. AD sure did it. Took smallest number of shots among the starters (except MKG who was a designated defensive stopper) but look at him now. Towns didn’t take that many shots either. Lots of great players aren’t the number 1 scoring option on their team.

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