By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Basketball Champions League regular season has four more gamedays left but four teams managed to secure an early ticket for the playoffs. One of them was UCAM Murcia which had to overcome Nizhny Novgorod and after two overtimes at that.
It was possible in no small part thanks to Askia Booker who led the squad by nailing 22 points including two crucial clutch shots from behind the arc in the second overtime to decide the game.
The 25-year-old is starting to show his true potential, especially in the clutch moments, for which he was well-known during his college days in Colorado…
After attending Price High School which he led to the Division IV championship and was ranked 30th in the nation at his position by ESPN, Booker joined the Colorado Buffaloes. As a freshman, he helped them advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2002–03 season and became a regular starter as a sophomore along with the current Brooklyn Nets‘ guard Spence Dinwiddie.
As a junior, Booker went down in Colorado history with a winning buzzer-beater against No.6 Kansas led by Andrew Wiggins, stopping Kansas’ 19-game winning streak against Colorado. In his final year, he averaged 17.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals making it into the second-team All-Pac-12. He became one of only three players in university’s history to achieve more than 1,700 points, 400 rebounds, 300 assists and 140 steals during a career.
Booker got in the center of attention when Colorado accepted to play in the College Basketball Invitational but he decided not to join the team. Many condemned him for doing so and ‘bailing’ on his team but Booker had full support from his coach and teammates who understood their teammate had to rest and prepare for his pro career, especially after playing a part of the senior season with sore hips.
Booker was set on the NBA but went undrafted in the 2015 Draft and joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the Summer League. After that, he signed with Arkadikos in the Greek League but played only two games with them before getting back overseas and joining the Northern Arizona Suns. He spent there two seasons while the third he split between the Suns and Delaware 87ers and averaged 15.6 points, six assists, four rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
In February, he signed his first contract in Spain with Real Betis where he averaged 15 points and finally, he joined UCAM Murcia for the current 2018-19 season. He has averaged 11 points per game so far in the Spanish League and 8.7 points in the BCL.
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League