WASHINGTON, D.C. - When Trevor Booker first decided to go play in Israel during the NBA lockout, he had the same opinion of the country that many others who have never been have.
"Before I went over there, all I heard about was bombs and stuff like that," he said.
That, of course, refers to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that has gone on for seemingly forever. But it didn't take long for Booker to realize the truth about the country: it's beautiful, it's safe and it's a very unique place.
"It was a great experience," he said. "Great weather. Great team. Great country."
Booker signed with Bnei Hasharon, a team in a city called Herzliya that's one of the most affluent in Israel. It's located in the central part of the country on the coast about 20 minutes north of Tel Aviv, and having been there myself, I can back up Booker's assertion that it's a really cool place to be. So we know Booker had a good time overseas.
The only problem is that he didn't play in any games. When asked why he signed overseas, Booker said he needed game action.
"I got hurt at the end of the season, so I missed the last 10 games. I needed some competition," he said. "So I decided to go over there."
But a thigh injury caused him to come home early before the team got its regular season started, so he didn't really get the kind of game competition he wanted. Since then, Booker has been rehabbing, trying to get back healthy before the start of the season. As of right now, he's almost there. Flip Saunders said he's been going through practices normally and he may play briefly against the Philadelphia 76ers in Friday's preseason game. Health-wise, he should be OK by next week.
Will he be in rhythm though, especially on a team where his role is pretty undefined? That's another question entirely.