Did Keion Brooks, Jr. Give Away His College Choice With This Quote?

As we highlighted last week, the class of 2019 recruiting process is in its busy season, and Archie Miller and his staff have been in full court press mode in an attempt to lock up a second consecutive highly ranked class.

There are three Top 30 Class of 2019 forwards that Indiana is in a good position with — Keion Brooks, Jr., Trendon Watford, and Trayce Jackson-Davis.  Any of them would be a big recruiting win for the Hoosiers.  Archie Miller is going for the trifecta, and as we featured yesterday, he is doing it in part by highlighting the significant progress of 2nd-team All-Big Ten forward Juwan Morgan.

If there is a priority among the three 2019 forwards, it is likely Fort Wayne, Indiana native Keion Brooks, Jr..  The five star wing checks a lot of Archie Miller’s boxes, including being from Indiana and possessing a versatile game to go with his 6-8 frame.  If you haven’t seen him play, you can get a sense for his abilities from this mix tape of his junior year at Fort Wayne North High School.

According to 247 Sports, Brooks is ranked 16th overall in the country in the 2019 class.  They have him ranked as the 6th best small forward, and the top player in the state of Indiana.  For his junior season at Fort Wayne North, Brooks put up massive numbers, averaging 23.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.

The competition for Brooks is intense.  In addition to Indiana, he has offers from all of the big boys including Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas.  The Spartans are thought to be the leader in some circles, but in reality no one really has a firm grip on where he might land.  The self-proclaimed experts that have predicted that Brooks will go to Michigan State did so prior to Tom Crean being fired and replaced by Archie Miller.  Of course when Miller was hired he went out and added Ed Schilling to the staff.  We’ll come back to that.

But if you wanted to convince yourself that Brooks was leaning towards Indiana, he provided just the quote over the weekend.  In an interview (paywall) with Jeff Rabjohns of 247 Sports, Brooks had this to say when asked about where the idea of staying in-state ranks in his thought process:

“It’s at the front of my mind.  Why go somewhere when I can do it at home?  You know I’ve always been intrigued by Indiana just because it’s where I grew up and where I’ve always been, so, just the thought that I could wear Indiana across my chest and be a star for them is something special”.

Brooks went on to say that he frequents Bloomington often with his brother to visit his brother’s girlfriend, and he remarked how nice and kind everyone was to him and how much he enjoyed the vibe down there.

If that isn’t enough to lead you to believe that IU is in good shape here, then there is Schilling.  While it doesn’t seem possible when you look at the IU assistant coach, he was actually the head coach of Keion Brooks, Sr. at Wright State.  The elder Brooks was a star under Schilling, averaging 20.7 points as a senior.

Apparently the relationship between Brooks Sr. and Schilling is still strong.  Not long after Miller and Schilling were hired, Brooks Sr. had this to say about the new IU staff in comparison to the former staff:

“Anytime you have a relationship with somebody, you definitely look at things a little differently. You want somebody you can trust so it’s not a guessing thing.”

Romeo Langford is set to announce in just a couple weeks.  If Brooks really is leaning towards Indiana, along with Trayce-Jackson Davis, class of 2019 dominoes could start falling soon too.  With Brooks, Jackson-Davis and Watford all at around 6-8, you can imagine that they might want to commit before each other if they were concerned that they all were targeting the same place.

It’s still way too soon to make a call on any of this, but for the first time in a long time, you can at least start to imagine one of the great few months of Indiana basketball recruiting.

Brooks, Jr. remarked that wearing his home state “Indiana” across his chest would be something special.  With the Hoosiers seemingly close with regard to multiple 5-star targets, he might just be part of the era that brings IU basketball back to actually being something special again on the court.

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