Ep. 78: Get to know Trevor Booker

Pacers, Trevor Booker

Seeking depth at power forward, the Pacers added veteran free agent Trevor Booker to their roster officially on March 3.

After the Pacers concluded a four-game road trip, Booker watched the team beat Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back before practicing with the guys for the first time.

“He’s first and foremost a great guy,” said Bojan Bogdanovic, a teammate of Booker’s last season in Brooklyn.

“He’s the guy that we’ve missed that can fit perfectly in our system. We are switching a lot with the three and four so he’s also able to guard all of these quick guards. I think it’s a great addition for us. He’s a great defender, a great rebounder. He can be huge for us and I think he will.”

Booker has averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in eight seasons as a pro.

The 30-year-old, 6-foot-8 power forward who will provide toughness and rebounding inside, then made his debut in a Pacers uniform on March 7th against the Utah Jazz, a team he played for from 2014-16. He had two points and two rebounds, but followed it up with eight points and eight rebounds the following night.

After his first game with the Pacers, I spoke with Booker in the locker room. Read that Q&A and/or listen to the podcast below.

On facing a former team, Utah, in his first with the Pacers:

It was pretty cool. I still remember their sets so I was calling them out while I was out there. It was just cool to play against those guys again and see some familiar faces.

What has the transition been like for you? The good news is you should be well rested playing your first game in the days.

Yeah it’s been different. It’s my third team this year so it’s definitely something different. But it’s something that I’m embracing. This team has welcomed me with open arms and they’re making an easy for me.

Being your third team this season, is that something you take personal or just understand that it comes with the business — and this time, you were able to be selective in when you ended up?

If you know the business you don’t take it personally. You can’t take it personal. Many teams were wanting me after I got bought out so I understand the business side of things. I’m just happy to be with a team that wanted me and that’s where I wanted to be.

What was the process like for you in deciding, maybe making calls. Did you call Bojan [Bogdanovic] at all to get a feel for this locker room?

Nah, I didn’t talk to him. But I talked to other people that knew the players and got a good feel for how my teammates were and how the locker room was.

What were some of the key ingredients that went into this decision?

Just lookin at style of play for one. How great of a locker room it was, how positive the team was. So all of those were factors.

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What have you done to try to accelerate the learning curve and quicken your study of this team?

Just trying to learn plays every day. I’m going over the playbook and trying to find chemistry with my teammates.

You probably already know personnel just from facing everyone. But maybe the habits and the playbook are maybe the two most important things.

Yeah, definitely so. I’m a big basketball guy so I watch League Pass every night so I’m pretty familiar with my teammates already. It’s just about building that chemistry though.

Is that something that you think will remain a challenge over the next two months as it’s really hard to make up in such a short time?

I don’t see it as a challenge because they’re helping me out a lot. They’re making it easy for me. So I don’t think it will be a challenge.

Why No. 20?

My mom wore that number in high school.

And why the headband?

I’ve been wearing that the last couple of years.

From the outside, what were your impressions of what this Pacers was about, both from exceeding expectations and the chemistry that has developed within this locker room?

Coming into the year, they were picked to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They’ve definitely exceeded expectations just by being positive and playing the right way, and playing hard. That’s one of the things that drew me to this team.

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