Devin Booker lobbied DeVos family to have Magic draft him in 2015

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Devin Booker scored 11 points as his Phoenix Suns defeated the Orlando Magic 92-87

Many Orlando Magic fans wish the Magic had drafted Devin Booker in 2015. The fans' second-guessing intensifies each time Booker logs another 30-point game while second-year swingman Mario Hezonja — the player the Magic picked fifth overall — remains out of the Magic's regular playing rotation.

Booker, a 6-foot-6 swingman, entered Wednesday night's matchup between his Phoenix Suns and the Magic averaging 19.9 points per game.


But if Booker had his way at the time, he would've become a member of the Magic back in 2015.

As the draft approached, Booker lobbied members of the DeVos family to have the Magic draft him.


Booker was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., the home base of the Magic's owners. As a child, he became good friends with three of Rich and Helen DeVos' 16 grandchildren.

"I'm really close with the owners here," Booker said after the Suns completed their shootaround at Amway Center.

"It was funny. They had a top-five pick. Obviously, I wasn't being rated that high. But I'm good friends with the DeVoses because we're both from Grand Rapids, Mich. I was telling them, 'I need to come to Orlando.' But I knew it wasn't going to happen. It was a long shot. I'm happy where I'm at."

Booker played just one season at the University of Kentucky. Because of the Wildcats' depth and because of his youth — he turned 18 years old a few weeks before the season started — he didn't start a single game in college. But he averaged 10.0 points per game and made 41.1 percent of his 3-point tries.

The Magic entered the draft hoping Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis would fall to them at No. 5. When the New York Knicks scooped up Porzingis fourth overall, the Magic were happy to select Hezonja, a 6-foot-7 Croatian who was playing in Spain's top professional league.

The Suns selected Booker 13th overall.

Don't feel badly for Booker. Things worked out just fine for him. He has scored at least 30 points in nine of his 90 career regular-season NBA games, including a 30-point performance in the Suns' loss Monday night in Washington.

Booker scored 11 points Wednesday as the Suns beat the Magic 92-87.


Old friend

When Magic forward Jeff Green saw Suns coach Earl Watson on Wednesday night, he didn't regard Watson only as an opposing coach.

Green also regarded Watson as a mentor and friend.

Watson had played six NBA seasons when his Seattle SuperSonics acquired Green as a rookie.

Watson took Green under his wing.

"That was my vet," Green said. "We're still close. He's a good friend of mine. He was there for me since Day One, and he's always been there for me whenever I need to talk."


The admiration is mutual.

"I'm a big Jeff Green fan," Watson said.

Embracing Thanksgiving

Magic center Nikola Vucevic grew up in Belgium and Montenegro, but he embraces the American tradition of Thanksgiving.

"I feel like if you live in a certain country you need to enjoy their culture," Vucevic said. "I think that's the best part. I've been living here and it's my 10th year. In the beginning, I didn't know what Thanksgiving was. But I'd see that people really enjoy it, and you want to enjoy it as well.

"If you live here, and especially if you live here for a couple of years like I have been, I think it's good to accept their culture and kind of live like an American."


Cabinet member

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will nominate Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education. She is the daughter-in-law of Rich and Helen DeVos and is married to one of the Magic's three vice chairmen, Dick DeVos.

Trouble in the kitchen

Frank Vogel is a virtuoso when he mans the grill.

But cooking a Thanksgiving turkey?

Not so much.


The Magic coach loves to barbeque. In Indiana, he often invited players and neighbors over for backyard barbeques.

He's discovered that cooking a turkey requires different skills.

"I made a turkey for the first time three years ago," Vogel said before the Magic hosted the Phoenix Suns on Thanksgiving Eve.

"It turned out very ordinary, very average. I didn't destroy it. It wasn't great and it wasn't bad."

When asked Wednesday to name his favorite Thanksgiving memory, Vogel came up blank.

He is able to cite an unpleasant memory, however.


As a child growing up in the beach town of Wildwood Crest, N.J., he rooted for Philadelphia's pro sports teams. So last year, he spent part of Thanksgiving afternoon watching his beloved Philadelphia Eagles play the Detroit Lions.

The Eagles lost 45-14.

"I thought that was going to be a really cool thing, and then they got blown out," he said. "So that was not a fun thing. That's my worst Thanksgiving memory, maybe."

Fox Sports Florida asked Vogel whether he prefers turkey, Thanksgiving sides, desserts or leftovers.

"I enjoy the huge plate," Vogel said. "Just everything-falling-off-the-plate plate. That's my favorite part of Thanksgiving: just everything you can imagine on the same plate. There's no going back for seconds. You just put it all on the same plate the first time and then just look at it and just be excited about it.

"And, then, the nap. The nap is my other favorite part of Thanksgiving."

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