One of Bobby Cremins' favorite players -- and one of mine -- is being inducted into the University of Maryland athletic department Hall of Fame tonight.
Keith Booth, whose No. 22 jersey hangs from the rafters at Comcast Center, was one of the most important recruits in Gary Williams' 20 seasons when he came to College Park from Baltimore's Dunbar High School in 1993.
Booth got overshadowed his first two seasons by Joe Smith, but Booth was an important part of those back-to-back Sweet 16 teams. When Smith left early for the NBA after their sophomore year, Booth became the unquestioned leader of two more NCAA tournament teams.
It was Cremins, in his broken Bronx dialect, who said, "Keet Boot, he's one of my favorite playas.''
Undersized at power forward, Booth made a career of going to the foul line (a school-record 576 free throws), willed himself into an All-American and became a first-round draft choice of the NBA champion Chicago Bulls. The only thing he lacked - a perimeter game -- cut short his NBA career, but his beloved status back in College Park made him a natural when Williams was looking for an assistant coach a few years ago.
Booth is now transitioning into that career, and he played a major role in getting St. Frances standout Sean Mosley to become a Terp.
When he was introduced to the crowd for the alumni game at Maryland Madness last week, the familiar "Booooootthhhhhh" rang out in the arena. I have a lot of memories of Booth from his Maryland days, including his battles with his first-cousin, Donta Bright, when the Terps plays UMass four times over three years.
How about you? What are your memories of Booth?