The Press Newspaper
What is the definition of respect?
Respect is when coaches and media members who cover your team vote you to the All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference second team and name you honorable mention all-district.
Patricc Booth recently garnered both of those honors despite playing for a Clay basketball team that finished the regular season with a 1-20 record.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard, a second-team all-conference pick as a sophomore, finished third in the TRAC in scoring at 16.7 points per game and grabbed 5.7 rebounds a game. He shot 76 percent from the free throw line.
“He’s a good student, a positive kid,” Clay coach Rob Belegrin said. “He listens to what you tell him and he doesn’t think he’s above the team, and he very well could be like that. It’s been tough, but my team works their butts off. We play in a great league and we’re outmanned. We don’t have an inside game and we shoot 22 percent from the 3-point line. We can shoot, they’re just not falling.
“We work very hard on defense and our kids play hard every game. I know that’s cliché, but I have people coming up to me to tell me that. The kids still believe. We’ve been close.”
Booth refuses to criticize his teammates for the Eagles’ lack of success this season – Clay was 5-16 a year ago – even though, like them, he can get frustrated. At the same time, he has a desire to improve several aspects of his game, which includes getting in the weight room to add some bulk to his 160-pound frame.
“One of my big goals was to be first-team All-TRAC,” Booth said. “Other than that, I accomplished many of my goals. Scoring-wise, I thought I did pretty good. Other things I can work on, like my (shooting) percentage. It all starts with the offseason, putting up shots and putting in the hard work. Your team might not be doing well, but you’ll get better. I could have done some things better.”
Booth, whom Belegrin has called “the purest shooter I’ve seen at Clay High School in 17 years,” shot just 23 percent from 3-point range this season. And yet, he still surpassed 20 points in a game eight times, including a season-high 29 at Lima Senior.
“I’ve been kind of streaky this year,” Booth said. “I’ve had games where I was hot and had games where I was cold. For me, it’s more mental. I’m not scared to shoot, it’s just that I have to work on my form with repetition, over and over. A lot of shots I take are good shots and they just don’t fall. I just have to work on letting the shot (attempts) come to me instead of rushing it.”
Belegrin said Booth’s shot selection this season was good, for the most part, and the coach was pleased that his standout guard was able to get to the free throw line more than he has in the past.
“Scorers get to the foul line, and he needed to get better there this year,” Belegrin said. “He’s done that, but he still needs to get there more. The best part of his game is his mid-range game. I just want him to get stronger going to the rim, going in and drawing contact. If he puts another season like this one together, he’ll be a 1,000-point scorer. He could easily be averaging 22 points a game if he shot 30-35 percent from the 3-point line.”
Booth said he looks forward to helping Clay basketball get over the hump next season. His goal is to earn a college scholarship in the process.
“We would hang out a lot more as a team last year, not just on the court,” Booth said. “This year there wasn’t as much of that. You hang out with someone more, better things will happen on the court. Next year I think there will be more team bonding.”
Belegrin added that Booth, who played some varsity as a freshman, is a safe bet to finally get on that All-TRAC first team next season.
“He’s been consistent for two years in a league that has three state-ranked teams,” Belegrin said. “Next year he might be a favorite for player of the year in the TRAC. He’s been a pleasure to coach for three years.”