Derrick Booth is back in basketball. For a week.
“This is exciting for me to get back into the gym, hear shoes squealing, balls bouncing,
blow my whistle,” said Derrick Booth. “Be able to yell and scream and motivate kids.”
Booth has his whistle around his neck and his coach voice at full throttle for the first time in months. This spring he stepped down as Manual High School’s head coach to concentrate on his job as District 150’s director of social and emotional learning.
It’s the first time in 16 years Booth hasn’t been running open gyms or coaching his high school team in the summer. This week he’s coaching 125 players at the Booth Basketball Academy, a free camp geared toward Peoria’s inner city youth.
He says he’s more of a life coach, than a basketball coach now.
“This still gets me going,” Derrick Booth said. “To just get out there and teach basketball. But what they don’t realize is I’m always teaching them something beyond basketball.”
For the last nine years Derrick and his brother David, the Director of Player Personnel for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, have hosted the camp in their home town.
“He’s still involved in the lives of youths,” David Booth said of his brother. “He still has competitive nature,
he’s just put it in a different lane.”
So basketball still is a very big part of Derrick Booth’s life even though he is no longer a high school coach. And he says don’t be surprised this winter is you see him in a gym on Friday or Saturday night.
“That’s all I know on Friday and Saturday nights is going to games,” Derrick Booth said. “I’m still going to cheer on the Manual rams but I’ll be doing it from a different seat now.”