Boozer family to leave Juneau

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2000

The Boozer family is leaving Juneau next month.

Renee Boozer said their son, former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball star Carlos Boozer Jr., is feeling pressure to turn pro, so the family is moving to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina in late July to be closer to him during his sophomore season at Duke University.

Renee said the pressure hasn't been obvious, because NBA teams aren't allowed to talk to players who haven't exhausted their NCAA eligibility or declared themselves eligible for the draft. But she said there has been indirect pressure, from media and fans, as Carlos Jr. has developed into one of the top college players in the country.

``We know he would feel more at ease if we were down there,'' Renee Boozer said. ``We knew it (pressure to turn pro) would be coming sooner or later.''

Renee and Carlos Sr. both want Carlos Jr. to complete his college education before moving on to the NBA. Renee said education is a top priority for the family, and they'd like to see Carlos Jr. complete his degree in business management or business law.

Carlos Jr., in an interview in late-May, said Chris Carrawell's last game at Duke was one of his top memories of his freshman year as a Blue Devil. Carrawell spent four years at Duke, and Carlos Jr. said losing the Sweet 16 game to Florida was an emotional time for the entire team because they wanted Carrawell to go out with a national championship.

``After that experience, I'm looking forward to doing that (pursuing a national championship for seniors Shane Battier and Nate James) again next year,'' Carlos Jr. said.

Carlos Jr., who is currently taking summer school classes at Duke, said he hopes to return to Juneau for a visit in August, and Renee said Carlos Jr. is still planning on visiting Juneau for a week or two before the fall term starts at Duke. In the meantime, Carlos Jr. is taking classes and trying to stay in shape for the next round of tryouts with the USA Basketball junior national team the week of July 10-17 in Miami.

If Carlos Jr., 18, survives that round of tryouts, he will head to Brazil for the COPABA (Confederation of Pan American Basketball Associations) World Championships for Young Men Qualifying Tournament on July 19-23. If Team USA is one of the top three teams in Brazil, out of eight national teams in the region, it will advance to the 2001 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championships for Young Men tournament in Japan.

Renee said leaving Juneau will be difficult for the Boozer family, especially for the three younger children, Charles, age 12, Nakeisha, 10, and Natanya, 7. But she said even their older daughter, Natasha, 20, is feeling pressure to leave school early to pursue a music career. Natasha is attending Westminster Choir College at Princeton University and wants to be a performer.

``It'll be difficult for the younger kids, because we all made some good friends here,'' Renee said. ``This is Juneau and we don't want to leave. But we're going for a different reason. This will be a lot easier for us. If something happens, we can jump in a car or get on a plane and we can be there a lot quicker, and it won't cost so much. Also, our parents are back east. My mom's been alone since my dad died three years ago, and Carlos' parents I know would like to be closer to the grandkids.''

Carlos Sr. is currently leading a group of young Juneau and Skagway basketball players on a trip back east with his Elite Basketball Organization, and two weeks ago the group attended a camp at Duke hosted by coach Mike Krzyzewski. The EBO group has also practiced at the University of Maryland and the University of Cincinnati and will be attending two tournaments in July.

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