After missing the 2014 playoffs with an untimely leg injury mid-way through the season, Roy Booker is thrilled at the prospect of leading the Ballarat Miners into the 2015 finals series.
On a five game winning streak to finish the season, the Miners have stormed into the playoffs while overtaking the Nunawading Spectres to grab fourth place in the East Conference.
As he has been for the past two seasons, Roy Booker was the catalyst. Already leading the league with 25.1 points per game, he averaged 27.2 and 5.6 assists in those last five games and is now primed for a tilt at the Championship.
“Last year I had to watch on the sidelines,” Booker said.
“Some people might think we would be satisfied because we have made the playoffs with that run but it is bigger than that for me and my team mates. We’re trying to get as far as we can.
“We have a real good rhythm right now, we’re starting to gel.
“I think everybody is starting to find their identity, some players might have been unfamiliar with their roles early but now they know what the coaches expect of each player. I think we’re on the right track.”
Booker has won the scoring title for two consecutive seasons but has not been able to enjoy the luxury of anonymity in 2015.
“I’m getting double-teamed a lot,” he said. “Last year I didn’t really get doubled because nobody knew who I was but this year I’m getting more focus defensively.”
Whatever teams throw at him does not seem to work though as Booker’s lowest scoring output of the season was still 16 points when he fouled out against Hobart in Round 12.
Aside from that, he has recorded 16 games of 20+ points and five 30+ games with a season high of 36 coming against N-W Tasmania when he shot 10-12 from the three-point line.
The Miners guard has attempted 48 more three’s than any other player, connecting on 17 more than Erik Burdon while shooting at 40%. He also sits third in the league for assists at 5.2.
“As long as we are winning, I feel like I’m doing good,” Booker said.
“When we are losing, I feel like I’m not doing enough. It doesn’t matter what your stats look like when you are losing.”
Ballarat’s semi-final clash with Dandenong Rangers looms as a contest between the Miners’ hot shooting back court and the Rangers’ wealth of front court experience after the team’s split their regular season record, 1-1.
“It’s going to be a hard fought game. They beat us once on our home court and we beat them three weeks ago on their home court. I’m sure they’re going to be pumped up and out for revenge but we feel the same way.”
Tip-off is at 7.30pm on Saturday night at Dandenong Stadium.