— By Matt Amstutz and Mike Schumann
Young Darrion is the latest emerging basketball talent from the well-known Fort Wayne area Brooks family.
His father, Keion Sr., starred at Wright State, and Indiana fans will remember older brother Keion Jr., who will be the top returning player at Kentucky next season.
Darrion just finished his freshman season at New Haven High School where the Bulldogs went 16-8 overall and 6-1 in conference.
New Haven’s season was cut short after winning the sectional championship against recent Illinois commit Luke Goode and Homestead. In that postseason game New Haven avenged an earlier loss and upset the Spartans.
Darrion found himself with the task of guarding Goode on several occasions, and he was impressed.
“Goode just needs a little space to make the defender pay,” Darrion said.
Brooks and his Bulldogs were locked in defensively and up to the challenge as New Haven took down Homestead and secured just its third sectional title in the past 25 years.
After playing against him twice last season, Darrion says that Goode was the best player he faced during his brief high school career.
It seems like a foregone conclusion that someone will be saying that about Brooks in a couple years.
Darrion finished his freshman season averaging 5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1 assist, .5 steals, and 1 block per game.
At 6-foot-5 and playing both shooting guard and small forward, Darrion compares his game to Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Brooks puts an emphasis on the defensive side of the floor and is particularly skilled at blocking shots for a freshman.
“I think that both my length and my timing are what make me such a good shot blocker,” Darrion said.
Defense is so important to the younger Brooks that he usually selects the Clippers when he plays NBA 2K because “he likes how well they play on the defensive end.”
With school having moved to e-learning and stay at home orders in effect, Darrion has had to adjust to the current health crisis. He still has hope that the summer AAU season will be played. Last season he played for the Indy Heat, but currently has not committed to a team.
Brooks’ daily schedule now includes waking up and completing school assignments, spending time working out at his uncle’s gym, and then booting up NBA 2K.
But his focus remains on his academics and his basketball skills. Darrion says that he wants to “go somewhere big” so he knows he needs to focus on his schoolwork.
When asked what his favorite schools are, Darrion named Syracuse, IU, Purdue, Kentucky, and Michigan in no particular order of significance.
Michigan State and Indiana are two of the first schools to contact the Brooks family. Darrion said that there was already a natural relationship with Archie Miller and the IU staff since they recruited his brother over a long period of time.
Due to that relationship, his family has a healthy respect for IU, the campus, and its basketball staff.
“I liked Indiana a lot, I would definitely like to go back again to visit,” Darrion said.
Only time will tell if Darrion ends up with any “big school” offers. At the moment his focus remains on working on his skills. At his uncle’s gym he spends countless hours working out with his father and his oldest brother Darius.
While he says his biggest strength right now is his three-point shot, the focus of Darrion’s most recent gym time has been improving his ball handling and explosiveness.
Brooks’ first dunk was a two-handed throw down at age 14. Now 15, his current favorite dunk is a “two-handed backscratcher.”
He likes the dunks, but Brooks says that one of his biggest strengths “is my basketball IQ.”
Giving a glimpse into that on-the-court savvy, Darrion states that to beat his brother Keion Jr. in a one-on-one game – all he must do is “pump fake” him out of his shoes.
Down one with five seconds to go, Darrion says his game winning move would be a “crossover, side-step, into a jump shot.”
And he is confident about the outcome.
“Nothing but net.”
New Haven's Darrion Brooks makes EPIC debut, scoring 17 points in first high school game.
— Chris Ryan (@ChrisRyanWPTA) December 19, 2019
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