Versatile Rellah Boothe's Real Position On The Court: Star
Your impression of Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) sophomore Rellah Boothe will partly depend on which game you saw her play.
"You might come one night and see her score 25 points and they were all on the inside on rebounds and putbacks," Potter's House Christian coach Tony Bannister said. "Then you might come another night and see her shoot 3's and say, 'I didn't know she could shoot the 3, that's interesting.' And then the next time you watch her team play you'll see her leading the break, running the point."
Boothe's versatility and ability to play every position means you never know what you're going to get in a given game. Well, except for one thing -- you can pretty much guarantee a double-double and a win by her team.
Boothe averages 20.6 points and 13.6 rebounds and has double-doubles in all but two games for the Lions (34-5) entering Wednesday's National Association of Christian Athletes national championships in Dayton, Tennessee. She's also averaging more than two assists, two steals and two blocks a game.
The 6-foot-1 Boothe learned how to develop post moves and how to handle the basketball early on, giving her a well-rounded game that has catapulted her to No. 13 in the HoopGurlz Class of 2017 Terrific 25. And rising.
Her abilities were on clear display on Nov. 28 against Blackman (Tennessee), the defending national champion and the No. 3 team in the espnW Top 25 power rankings. Playing on Blackman's home court against a team with five Division I commitments (and a team that other teams are apparently ducking), Boothe posted 37 points and 22 rebounds in an 80-69 win.
"She had a special night," Blackman coach Chad Hibdon said. "Her and her team played with an enormous amount of energy. She is a highly skilled player that is a tough matchup."
Boothe is normally laid-back, but Bannister could tell she had a different mindset on that bus ride to Blackman.
"I smiled and said, 'You ready, right?'" Bannister said. "And she said, 'Oh yeah, Coach, I've been waiting for this game.' I think the tougher the competition, the more she raises the level of her game. She gets excited to meet that challenge. That's what gets you going as a coach. When the lights are on I like the fact that she can raise her game to the next level."
While Boothe was excited to beat national powerhouse Blackman, she said the biggest victory so far this season came four weeks later against rival Ribault (Jacksonville).
Potter's House Christian avenged an 81-53 loss last season with a 78-55 win over their city rival on Dec. 23, with Boothe posting 23 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
The game was also memorable for what was happening off the court -- Boothe played against Ribault while her mother was in the ICU with blood clots in her leg. The team dedicated the game to her mother, who has since been released from the hospital.
"It was one of those moments you just never forget as a coach," Bannister said.
Boothe said she eventually took about a week off to help take care of her mother, but she returned after missing three games and has led Potter's House Christian to six straight wins entering the NACA national championships.
Soon Boothe may be providing unforgettable moments for a college coach. Boothe's well-rounded game will make her even more attractive to colleges, who can plug her into any opening.
Maryland is currently Boothe's No. 1 school, with Tennessee and Auburn also on her short list.
"I really like [Maryland coach Brenda Frese]," Boothe said. "I want to be a basketball player, but school comes first. They want you to be a student and then an athlete. I like the way she coaches and the way she works her team, on the court and off the court."
Before she worries about the next level, Boothe said she wants to work on her attitude and on having positive body language. One time she missed a double-double -- seven points and 11 rebounds against Smyrna (Tennessee) -- when she was thrown out in the third quarter for talking back to an official.
Besides the mental game, Boothe is also dedicated to working on her physical skills. When asked about her off-the-court interests, she said that other than exercising, she prefers to stay on the court.
"I feel like, when I'm off the court and I'm not doing anything, someone's getting better than me," Boothe said. "When I'm sitting down, someone's putting work in, and I don't want that to happen. If we had some days off I'd probably go outside and shoot on a basketball hoop that my neighbor has, or I'd ask Coach if can I stay and get a couple shots in."
Depending on the day, those shots could be coming from anywhere.