Booker Soaks in All-Star Weekend

Greg Esposito/Suns.com
by Matt Petersen

The All-Star "break" has been anything but for Suns guard Devin Booker, who is in Toronto as a key participant of the midseason classic's festivities. Those started with a photo shoot on Thursday, followed by a media session on Friday and on-court practice in advance of the two competitions in which he will take part:

    The Rising Stars Challenge: Booker was added as a replacement for injured Philadelphia big man Nerlens Noel. The game features the best first and second-year players in the league, including a pair of Booker's former college teammates in Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles. Friday, 7 p.m. (AZ), TNT
    The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: At 19 years old, Booker will be the youngest participant in the history of the contest, which boasts some of the best shooters in league history. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of Golden State, JJ Redick of the L.A. Clippers and Houston's James Harden highlight the eight-player field. Saturday, 6 p.m. (AZ), TNT

The following is an excerpt from Friday morning's media availability session. You can view a portion of it on the Periscope video taken by Suns.com.

On the biggest adjustment from college to professional basketball...

The traveling, especially when you’re playing a lot of minutes. Back-to-backs, traveling to different cities, living out of a suitcase. There’s a lot to it, but this is what we always wanted all our lives.

On learning he would compete in the three-point contest...

I was really excited. I didn’t know what the field [of competition] was at the time…once I heard the field, I was even more excited. The best shooters in the game are in there. This is going to be one of the best three-point shootouts they’ve had in a while.

On starting the season as a reserve before seeing his role and minutes increase...

I’m a rookie. I understand the process. My father prepared me for this, so I always knew that was going to be a process. I actually had the opportunity to already start playing, to already get big minutes. I have to take advantage of my opportunity.

On how competitive he feels the Rising Start Challenge will be...

Very competitive. It’s going to be a personal game. U.S. versus World.  They have a lot of World players in our league now, so I think us U.S. players are going to have a chip on our shoulder and I think they’re going to have that same chip. It will be interesting.

On whether he was prepared for the Toronto cold...

I was not prepared for this. I knew it was going to be cold. They kept warning me, but until you actually feel it, it’s unpredictable. It’s like Phoenix heat. They told me it was going to be hot, but once I got there in the summer, I didn’t know it was going to be that hot.

On his reaction to being a late replacement in the Rising Stars Challenge...

I had no idea Nerlens wasn’t playing. Once he stopped playing, I figured they were going to replace him with a big. They ended up going with me. My whole life, I feel like stuff always happens for a reason. I’m going to go out there, play my hardest and not take anything for granted because originally I wasn’t supposed to be in the game.

On being involved in All-Star Weekend...

Being involved in All-Star weekend as a rookie overall, just being around the long-time All-Stars like the Kobes, the Dwyane Wades, the Melos, it’s an unbelievable feeling. I’m trying to learn from them. Not even by talking to them, just watching them, how they carry themselves, things like that.