Status: UK Wildcat
Forward | 6-7 | 190
School: La Lumiere Indiana
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Keion Brooks was one of the very first players in the 2019 recruiting class to land a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and he announced his commitment to the Cats in March.
Brooks is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He ultimately chose Kentucky over home-state Indiana, turning down a chance to play for the Hoosiers and instead suit up for their one time rivals. We can add Keion to a long list of high performance players from Indiana to join Kentucky. At one time it may have been a big deal, but at this point why a highly rated player from Indiana or anywhere else would choose to play anywhere other than for John Calipair and Kentucky is hard to understand.
If you want to not only go to the NBA but also have a successful career after you get there, no coach in the world prepares talent for the NBA like John Calipari. It has been reported that UK Coach John Calipari sold Brooks early in the process on being able to play a Kevin Knox-type role in Lexington using his versatility to take advantage of mismatches and score in a variety of ways. Brooks is also longtime friends with five-star point guard Tyrese Maxey, the Cats’ first commitment for the 2019 class.
After navigating through a recruitment that also included scholarship offers from North Carolina, Michigan State, UCLA and several other top programs, Brooks will comes to Kentucky with expectations of being an instant contributor, though he could also be a multi-year player in college, adding some more continuity to our roster moving forward.
Brooks officially signed with the Cats in April.
At 6’7”, Brooks is one of four small forwards in an incoming Kentucky class talented enough to knock Duke out of the top-two of 247Sports’s composite recruiting class rankings for the first time since 2013.
As a wildcat fan, knocking Duke anywhere is something you gotta love.
An Indiana native, Brooks was long thought to be leaning toward his home state Hoosiers before committing to Calipari. The loaded group coming to Rupp this year features Brooks, four-star wings Johnny Juzang (No. 34)—who also plays the two slot—and Dontaie Allen (No. 92), five-star combo guard Tyrese Maxey (No. 10) and fellow five-star small forward Kahlil Whitney (No. 11). Add in grad transfer Nate Sestina from Bucknell . Calipari should have no trouble reloading. After leading Indiana’s La Lumiere School to a 28–0 record his senior year, Brooks brings additional depth to the Wildcats front court rotation and a capable spurt scorer to a team that will hopefully find its path quickly.
While Whitney will likely fill the hole Keldon Johnson left attacking the basket off the bat, Brooks adds depth both at wing and to a solid front court. With Montgomery, Richards, Sestina and Allen all also competing for time up front, he’ll be fighting for playing time in a tough rotation, but Brooks will still see the floor.
The newcomer provides a strong all-around option for Calipari to use at the three or the four, doubling as a strong rim protector and a scoring threat in the paint. He provides a little more length than Allen, Juzang or Whitney, but will need to bulk up to survive the physicality of the college game.
The plus side is that Brooks should have the flexibility to slide into a small-ball lineup or use his scoring and defensive abilities to help further away from the basket, depending on how Calipari chooses to play it.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana wing is quick and capable, as is the rest of this year’s Wildcat crew, and should provide instant upside in a more prototypical three-slot while his range widens.