Askia Booker is a polarizing basketball player. He is Colorado's most active player offensively in terms of attempting shots, but he shoots the lowest percentage from the field among Colorado's starters. Yet he's third on the team at scoring at 11.4 points per game, and he hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating, 3-pointer to defeat #6 ranked Kansas Saturday in Boulder. Once again, Askia Booker is a polarizing basketball player. Plain and simple.
Coming into Colorado's showdown against Kansas, there has been both good and bad when it comes to Booker, particularly the latter. Booker is a double-digit scorer for Colorado, but his shooting percentages are atrocious.
Booker came into the game against Kansas shooting .376 % from the field, and an even worse .238 % from three. Booker leads Colorado in field goal attempts as well as 3-point field attempts despite his dismal shooting percentages. He's taken 31 more field goal attempts than Colorado's best player, 6-foot-6 point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, a potential first-round draft pick come June.
Advanced statistics also reveal how inefficient Booker has been this year. According Ken Pomeroy advanced statistics, Booker has a 25.1 % of possessions used (a measure of personal possessions used while Booker is on the court) which categorizes him as a "major contributor" according to Pomeroy. Booker also has a 31.7 % of shots taken (percentage of a team's shots taken while Booker is on the court). Booker ranks first in both categories for Colorado.
Booker is a gunner in the truest sense, a fearless player who's never met a shot he hasn't liked. His shot selection, or lack thereof, likely causes Head Coach Tad Boyle to stay up at late, late at night. But its Booker who will look to create offense late in the shot clock of a stagnant set. It's Booker who looks to make something out of nothing in an effort to fire up his team.
On Saturday it was Booker who stepped up to the plate, in a big, big way when his team needed him the most. Booker scored a team-high 15 points, and shot a critical 3-6 from three. But he saved his best for last.
On the game's last possession with the game tied up at 72, Kansas prevented Dinwiddie from receiving the inbounds pass with three seconds left. Who stepped up? Do I really have to ask? Booker freed himself enough to receive the inbounds pass and worked his way up the court. He euro-stepped his way into a difficult, off-balanced, one-legged three point attempt at the buzzer. It went in. The crowd went nuts and stormed the court.
In that moment, everyone forgot about how Booker can ill-advised shots. Everyone forgot how crazy of a shot attempt Booker took. They took a page out of Booker's book and didn't think about the shot. They just basked in the glory of defeating the #6 ranked team at home, and ending a 19-game losing streak against Kansas.
Booker heaved up that prayer of jump shot to win the game and likely didn't think twice about it. Its not in his nature to dwell.