Our Top 25 MAC men’s basketball player countdown begins its’ home stretch as we preview our number 8 player: Toledo big man Nathan Boothe. Boothe is a 6-foot-9, 250 pound Senior from Gurnee, Illinois, who has started every game he’s played for the last three seasons. He has been a major factor in the resurgence of Toledo’s basketball team during his tenure with the Rockets.
Steadily increasing his role and improving his game, Boothe returns as Toledo’s leading rebounder, leading assister, and second leading scorer, behind Jonathan Williams, who sits at number 13 in our countdown. He is also just one of only two seniors on this Toledo squad, who we learned last week was picked to finish second in the MAC West behind conference favorite, Central Michigan.
Boothe is coming off his best season at the collegiate level. As a junior, he averaged 10 points per contest and hauled in 6 rebounds as well. Boothe is a solid-bodied player, with a soft touch in the paint. He also shows a great ability to step outside of the paint and drain some mid-ranged jump shots.
To go along with that, during his first two years as a Rocket, Boothe attempted just 16 three point shots, connecting on only four of them. However, last season, he attempted 33 three point shots, draining 12 of them for a 36 percent rate. While it’s not the greatest accuracy, being capable of knocking down long range shots will be a key trait that defenses will have to honor when facing this relatively young Toledo team this year.
Boothe, who earned a spot on the MAC West Division Preseason All-MAC Team, is going to have to make the transition from being a second or third option in Toledo’s offense to their first. He is more than capable, in my opinion, to handle the workload and score 14-20 points when the Rockets need him to do so. Being the only four-year starter on the team means that he will have had the experience necessary to be a team leader on the court.
One side of Boothe’s play that will drastically need to improve, though, is his fouling. In all three seasons, Boothe has led the Rockets in personal fouls. It’s completely understandable to have your big men get their fouls in, but Toledo’s depth lies more in their guard and less in their size. So if Toledo wants to make any noise in the Postseason this year, Boothe will have to be a little more cautious on the defensive side of the ball.