Connection with Micah Shrewsberry leads Carey Booth to Notre Dame basketball program

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Where he plays college basketball matters little to Carey Booth

Who he plays college basketball for, well, that matters a whole lot. 

For Booth, a high school senior and top 100 prospect who originally committed to and signed with Penn State but has since signed with Notre Dame, it was all about playing for Irish head coach Micah Shrewsberry.  It didn’t matter to Booth if he played in State College or plays in South Bend, the fact that he can play for Shrewsberry means everything. That’s why he flipped his commitment and announced Tuesday that he’s headed to Notre Dame. 

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It’s all because of Shrewsberry. 

“I always knew there was the possibility that he could go wherever (but) I was fully committed to him,” Booth said Tuesday afternoon from Brewster (N.H.) Academy where he’s finishing up his first and only season. “I’m committed to his vision, what he sees for the program and for me. I believe in what he’s done in the past at Penn State. 

“I was going to follow him wherever he went.” 

LONG BEACH, CA - AUGUST 27: Carey Booth shoots a shot during the Pangos All-American Festival on August 27, 2022 at the McBride High School in Long Beach, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

How? Why? For Booth, it’s about basketball, a game he knows well. Make that the highest level of basketball — the NBA. His father, Calvin, currently serves as general manager of the Denver Nuggets, so Booth has been around that game plenty. Like any kid with his size (6-foot-10 ½, 210 pounds) and skill set, Booth has long dreamed of playing at the highest of levels. 

He wants an education, and he’ll pursue one at Notre Dame. He also wants to get to the NBA. Booth believes Shrewsberry can help steer him there. That’s why no matter where Shrewsberry would hang his coaching hat — State College, South Bend, South America —Booth was hanging with him. 

“He’s been around guys who have made it in the league,” Booth said. “He’s been around the NBA. He’s been around success. He knows what it looks like. 

“He knows what I need to do to get to that point, so I believe in him.” 

More:Micah Shrewsberry begins to finalize his first Notre Dame men's basketball coaching staff

Booth is the second former Penn State recruit to commit to Notre Dame in as many days. On Monday, guard Braeden Shrewsberry announced plans to follow his father to South Bend. Might Notre Dame make it three commitments in three days on Wednesday? 

Stay tuned. 

There’s a lot to like about the new Irish head coach and how he’s attacked recruiting in his short time — just over a month — on the job. There’s also a lot to like about the newest power forward addition to an Irish roster that sits at seven (with a few more names to follow). 

A consensus four-star prospect who’s ranked as high as No. 57 in the nation (ESPN), Booth is long He’s lanky. He’s athletic. He competes. He’s got the NBA pedigree (his father played 11 seasons for eight teams). He wants to be good. He wants to be coached. 

As far as statistics, he’s one of those guys who’s more worried about winning than his numbers. Brewster will send nine players off last year’s roster on to Division I programs like Connecticut and Tennessee and Xavier and now, Notre Dame. Booth averaged 10 points and five rebounds on a team that finished 35-6 in one of the most competitive prep school conferences in the country. 

Notre Dame men's basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry added another piece to the Irish roster puzzle following Tuesday's commitment of high school senior and consensus top 100 prospect Carey Booth from Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

Pedestrian numbers? Try perfect. 

“They weren’t anything special,” Booth said of his senior season stats. “I was in a really good situation. I got to play against many high-level players, which helped me become a better player. It got me a lot more ready for college.” 

Booth said he shot it his senior year — from in close and out beyond the 3-point line — better than he’s ever shot it. He became a better defender. He became more of a team guy. He learned what it was like to play — and win — at a high level. He got the game. 

“He has arguably the highest ceiling and greatest potential of anyone currently in our program,” said veteran Brewster coach Jason Smith. “Great kid. Gym rat. He’s in the gym every morning at 6 before class.” 

Truth, Booth said Tuesday. Even after he stayed up late Monday to watch Denver grab a 2-0 advantage in its Western Conference second-round playoff series against Phoenix, Booth was in the gym before sunrise. It’s something he first started when he was 9 years old back home in Cherry Creek, Colorado. 

While guys now his age would choose to sleep in — especially on those cold New England winter mornings — Booth can’t wait to get to the gym. He has to be in the gym. 

“Honestly, I don’t need that much sleep to operate,” he said. “It’s what I’m used to doing. My body will wake me up.” 

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The jewel of a Penn State recruiting class that was ranked as high as No. 24 nationally, Booth originally had a college wish list that ran 27 schools deep. Twenty-seven. Notre Dame wasn’t one of those original 27. Now, it’s No. 1 as he’s headed to South Bend next month for summer school. 

Booth requested his release from Penn State on the day that Shrewsberry was announced at Notre Dame. Booth visited Notre Dame last month and fell hard for the campus, the culture, the head coach, everything. 

When Booth walked into Rolfs Hall and saw the wall of lobby monitors playing highlight loops of past Irish games, it hit him. He’s going to Notre Dame. He’s going to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He’s going to be coached by Shrewsberry. 

It was his whoa moment. 

“It was crazy,” he said. “Like, wow, I’m really here.” 

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.