The Daily Gamecock

Column: Booker leaves legacy during short time at South Carolina

Sharpshooting guard Frank Booker's career at South Carolina is coming to a close, but he made an impact on the South Carolina men's basketball team during his short time here. 

When Booker announced his decision last June to play his final season of collegiate basketball under the tutelage of 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Frank Martin, there was much anticipation from the Gamecock nation on how much of an impact Booker would make.

The former Florida Atlantic Owl (2016-17) and Oklahoma Sooner (2013-15) has carved out a significant role for himself on Martin’s team during his sole season in Columbia. Even after the Gamecocks’ spectacular Final Four run in the 2017 NCAA tournament, the 23-year-old graduate transfer has given Gamecock fans something to be excited about each time their team has taken the hardwood.

Booker, who was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, has drawn 18 starts and appeared in 31 games during the regular season for the Gamecocks. In the 13 games he did not start, Booker was usually the first man off the bench and would immediately make an impact on the court.  

Regardless of how large a lead the team holds or the deficit it faces, fans at Colonial Life Arena have made it obvious that they feel more comfortable with No. 5 on the court. Booker, in just one year with the South Carolina men’s basketball program, not only established a strong rapport with his teammates and coaching staff but has done so with the thousands of fans who have watched him play. 

He continuously found a way to make an impact on the court, as he shot 40.4 percent from behind the arc. With an average of 12.5 points per game through 31 games, Booker may not necessarily jump off the stat-sheet as an elite playmaker, but he certainly has been a key contributor. Due to timely scores in big moments, Booker evolved into a can’t-miss player on Martin’s squad as the season progressed. 

As Booker's career started to close, he made some final impressions on Gamecock fans. On senior night, Booker made himself known by contributing 25 points to lead the way to an overtime win over LSU. 

Even though the LSU game marked the final time Booker would take the home court in front of the CLA crowd, it will not the last time he showcases his tremendous grit and ceaseless hustle for Gamecock fans. 

Now, as South Carolina begins its run in the SEC Tournament and awaits its fate in the postseason, Booker will look to continue to make one final mark in garnet and black.