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July 13, 2021

Devin Booker

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. After games this season where you've shot poorly, you've had a really good bounce-back performances. Anything that goes into how you kind of digest a poor shooting performance and then approach the next game?

DEVIN BOOKER: Short memory. Just move on. Been there before. So just understanding that, understanding the game, understanding situations that you've been through and just trusting the work that you've put in, as simple as that. But my main objective out there is to win the basketball game.

Q. Obviously Khris and P.J. are different body types, different style of defenders. Those few games when you see them in front of you, what are they trying to do differently to you and how do you view them when they're squared up on you?

DEVIN BOOKER: I respect them to the highest degree. This isn't my first time playing against either of them. I was fortunate enough, and I've credited P.J., I say for developing my game in those early years. Getting to go against him every day in practice and understanding just how physical he is and how tough he is going to make it on you. So I respect both those guys a lot.

Q. You talked in the past about just the work that you've put in in the offseason, specifically with your dad even going back to when you were a kid. You said you've even seen everything when it comes to workouts. What is the most challenging thing? Can you think of a not necessarily a crazy story but like something just wow, okay, this is my introduction to what it takes to get through a basketball workout?

DEVIN BOOKER: I would say just the sacrifices of wanting to -- I mean, I don't want to sound like a kid again, but hang out with your friends and do things on the weekend and go here or go there. I didn't do much of that at that time and in high school. I spent my weekends traveling to Alabama for the whole weekend practicing with my travel team, the Alabama Challenge. Then during school days I would be up before school training, and then right after school training. After that, it was time to go home and go to sleep.

So just a lot of sacrifices of being a kid, but in pursuit to get everything I wanted. If I could do it again a million times over, I would do it all again.

Q. Flashing forward a little bit when you look back on whether it was when the league was shut down when COVID first hit or during kind of the break between the bubble and the start of camp, was there anything specific that you homed in on and really wanted to work on or things that when you look back on that time like okay I improved here and that's paying dividends now?

DEVIN BOOKER: Taking care of my body and training and understanding that that was a time that there was going to be a lot of people sitting around for two, three months not doing anything. I think did I take some time to do that, but once I got a training regimen to myself that I could do at home safely and keep it inside with the bubble of me, my dad and my brother as the only people I was training with, I really didn't stop training during any of it.

Q. During this run have you gotten a chance to cross paths or talk with any of the Suns' luminaries from the '93 team or anyone in the organization? And if so, what kind of came out of that?

DEVIN BOOKER: I haven't. I saw KJ (Kevin Johnson) was at Game 2, I think. I didn't get a chance to talk to him. Obviously, I've talked to Chuck a bit. But having Mark West around the program -- you know, I understand the history. I haven't had any personal conversations with anybody in the past few weeks. Hopefully we can do that when all this is over with because we're just so stuck into doing what we're doing right now. But I know you guys saw me with the vintage T's and obviously really cool shirts, but more of that for me was to pay my respects to what they have done for this organization and this city.

Q. To follow up on that earlier answer about short memory, I know how important mental approach is for you. So when you watch back a game like this when you don't have the shooting night you want, where is the balance you find between not being too hard on yourself taking it in, but also getting to that short memory as well?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just understanding the task at hand and simply you just have to be better if you want to win the game. That's obviously something I want and something this whole team and coaching staff and training staff wants and this whole city wants. So I would say it's a good pressure. These are the moments that you prepare for and that you train so hard for, what we're in right now. So you have to be excited about it.

Q. How much does Deandre speak up in the huddle? I saw a video where he was really amped up. How often does he do that? Is that a rare thing or does he do it more than maybe what we're seeing?

DEVIN BOOKER: I mean, he does it. We all do it to a certain extent. Anybody can do that anytime on this team and we can understand where they're coming from. I don't think we were playing as hard as we could have been at that time, and that's what he communicated amongst the team. So nobody takes it personal. Nobody gets mad at somebody for doing anything like that. I think it just brings our team together even more and we see what he's talking about.

Q. You said that all year that guys can just say whatever to each other, not take it personal. When did that hit? Was that right away or did it take a few?

DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, it takes a few little disagreements and talking about it for some time. You might go a day of not liking each other. That's fine. That's fine. You come back the next day and you squash it and you talk it out amongst each other as men. I think we have had a good job of, you don't want to be the one person in the group that can't be talked to. That's not a good look. So it's kind of contagious throughout everybody.

Q. You talked about how Coach Calipari has influenced your career and the sacrifice that it took to play for him. What's the biggest thing that you think you learned from him during your time together and how often have you guys been in touch during this Finals run?

DEVIN BOOKER: We haven't been in touch much this Finals run. I actually think he's coming to the next game. I think I heard that. But I learned a lot from Coach Calipari. Just how to be a pro. I was 17, 18 years old at the time, so you're only there for -- well I was -- for one year, and that's not a lot of time to spend on a college campus. But he's trying to push the most information he can to you in a short amount of time and understanding what your goals and your dreams are. Before I went there, he had me tell him what do I want out of this program, what am I looking for. And for me, that was to be a pro. So he holds you to that standard every single day. That's how you push and that's how you get to that level, is somebody consistently being honest with you.

Q. Pretty off topic, but one think thing I missed this year is seeing those pregame interactions you would have with Jenna Warren at home games last year. Was wondering how much communication you've been able to have with her and just how you would describe her Devin Booker fandom in general?

DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, that started a long time ago. I miss those interactions also. Her and her family actually moved to New York so they weren't based anymore in Phoenix for the season, but we still keep in contact. My family keeps in contact with hers. We have our exchange through DM very often. I see her still supporting. That's a bond that's here forever.

Q. There's a lot of teams that when it gets to 10 at the shot clock, pull it out, all right, let's run the pick-and-roll, whatever our end-of-clock action is going to be. There's lots of times where you guys get to 10, run the action, it gets blown up and at five you run another one. How did you guys get comfortable working that late into the clock?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just experience. Understanding we have five players out there that can make plays and make the baskets. So just trust one another and just trying to get the best available shot. That might not be the one late in the shot clock all the time. It could be the early one in the shot clock. As a team, finding that balance of taking the first available good one and creating a really good one for your teammate -- the whole good to great concept.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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