A senior-to-be, Booth boasts a resume that Atkins, whom he views as a big brother, is proud of. The owner of 17 scholarship offers, Booth was an All-Baltimore Catholic League first-team selection as a junior this past season and was named the Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as a junior. He is the No. 63 prospect nationally in the 2014 class according to Scout.com.

The four-star recruit says Georgetown, Indiana, Missouri, Temple and Villanova have shown the most interest, but he won't name five finalists until later this summer. The plan is to pick a winner in the fall.

Booth was offered by Maryland, but he says he and coach Mark Turgeon have a mutual understanding that Maryland won't be the place for him, due to the recent commitments the Terrapins have received.

One school that has recently increased its pursuit of Booth is Ohio State. The Buckeyes have yet to extend Booth a scholarship offer, but coach Thad Matta has expressed interest in reuniting Booth with his Gaels backcourt mate of the past three seasons, Buckeye-to-be Kameron Williams.


Follow @SunVarsity on Twitter.

Whichever school inks Booth to a scholarship will be adding a player on pace to eclipse the 2,000-point mark in high school, a player who takes the most pride in defending the opponent's top offensive threat.

Booth Sr. said the goal while teaching his son the game was always to make him a complete player, not just an offensive threat. Mission accomplished, according to Jakobe.

"You'll get a lot of guards out of the city who can score, but they don't make other people better," Jakobe said. "It's almost like a more selfish style of play in Baltimore, with guys out for their own and not really making guys better.

"The thing that's so special about Phil is he makes everyone on the court a better player. He'll be with a guy who's a 5 or 6 out of 10, and Phil makes him an 8."

Booth was never afforded the chance to be selfish, growing up on courts with older players who expected the youngster to at least look to pass first. Opponents may focus more on him now with Williams gone, but Booth's what's-best-for-the-team-is-best-for-me mentality won't be changing.

"Now teams might really focus on me, but I think the teammates I've got, they can very easily step up, so I don't see a problem," Booth said. "We'll be fine; the players on our team are very good."

Having Williams as a teammate the past three seasons meant a shared spotlight. As Booth described it, one was Batman to the other's Superman. It's Booth's team now.

"It's his year upcoming. He's the man on the team since Kam [Williams] left," said Atkins, a tri-captain at Notre Dame as a junior and the team's third-leading scorer at 11.2 points per game. "It's going to be a great opportunity for him."

Atkins sees NBA potential in Booth, whom he likens to Deron Williams and a young Jason Kidd. And Atkins saw it three summers ago.

As Booth and Atkins exited the gym after that rout, the Notre Dame-bound player had a message for his protege.

"He beat me like that and then said, 'I'm passing this torch to you to carry it on,'" Booth recalled. "It made me feel a little better after a loss, but yeah, it meant a lot coming from him."

The next time the two play, Booth just might be the one leaving the court victorious.

rhood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/ryanhood19