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Former Notre Dame forward Carey Booth commits to Illinois

IMG_7504by:Jack Soble04/16/24


Former Notre Dame forward Carey Booth has a new home in the transfer portal. Booth is committed to Illinois, he announced on Instagram on Tuesday evening.

The former four-star prospect has three years of eligibility remaining. He left open the possibility of returning to Notre Dame when he initially entered the portal, but odds were always against that happening.

“[Illinois tells] me how much they love me as a player,” Booth told On3’s Jamie Shaw on April 6, when the Fighting Illini were recruiting him. “They see me like a Coleman Hawkins-type, doing a lot of what he does. They play fast and push the pace; they want me to be able to create some off the dribble.”

Booth also made a statement to Shaw that implied he was dissatisfied with Notre Dame head coach Micah Shrewsberry’s coaching and play style. The Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy product originally signed with Penn State, where Shrewsberry previously coached, but he followed the Indiana native to Notre Dame.

“I want to go to a play for a coach that believes in me,” Booth said. “That is the most important thing. Play in a program that lets me play my game. They play faster, run and get up the floor. When the team is rebounding and flying around, everything opens up.”

Booth, the son of Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, was Shrewsberry’s highest-ranked recruit in the class of 2023. He was the No. 59 player in the On3 Industry Ranking with his lanky 6-foot-10 frame, athleticism and shooting ability standing out among most prospects.

As expected, Booth struggled at times during his freshman season. He made his presence felt early with a 20-point outing against Western Carolina Nov. 11, but he went through slumps that dropped his minutes to as little as seven at Pittsburgh Feb. 3.

However, as the season hit its home stretch, Booth showed substantial growth as a player. He put together back-to-back strong performances with 15 points against Wake Forest Feb. 27 and 11 against Clemson March 2, both resulting in Notre Dame wins. He regained his shooting stroke, going 13 of 35 (37.1 percent) from beyond the arc in the season’s final six games.

Booth finished with 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a freshman, shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from three-point range. He played in all 33 games, starting 19.

In a 13-20 (7-13 Atlantic Coast Conference) season, Shrewsberry and the Irish watched several young players emerge as core pieces. Freshman guard Markus Burton won ACC Rookie of the Year, fellow freshman guard (and the head coach’s son) Braeden Shrewsberry was one of the league’s best shooters in conference play and sophomore forward Tae Davis was a two-way monster when he was on.

However, with Booth’s physical profile and flashes of strong play as a freshman, many viewed his ceiling as the highest on Notre Dame’s roster. Coming off a Big Ten Tournament championship and an appearance in the Sweet 16, Illinois head coach Brad Underwood will look to maximize that ceiling in Champaign, Ill.

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