Coming off the steam from recent Indiana basketball commitment, Armaan Franklin, the Hoosiers received more good news with another in-state recruit less than three weeks later. Keion Brooks Jr,. a five-star small forward in the class of 2019 out of Fort Wayne, has cut his recruitment down to six schools. Indiana is included.
The other five finalists for Brooks feature a heavy dose of blue bloods and traditional powers, including Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Purdue, and UCLA. The No. 21 overall ranked player in the 2019 class (24/7) cut Iowa, Georgetown, Michigan, and Texas from his previous top ten.
— Keion Brooks Jr. (@KeionB_12) September 25, 2018
Brooks has been a household name for years around the state and has rose to national prominence in recent time. Sporting a long, lanky 6-foot-7, 186 pound frame, Brooks has the look of an NBA player already. His supreme length, athleticism, and versatility is what makes him stand out.
He played his first three years of high school basketball at Fort Wayne North Side High School, where he helped lead his team to two sectional titles and a state title appearance in 2017. In his junior season, he averaged 23.4 points per game along with 9.8 rebounds per game.
This summer, Brooks decided to head to national power and prep school, La Lumiere, in La Porte, where he’ll join the likes of other high profile players like Gerald Drumgoole, Kamari Lands, and fellow five-star center and IU target, Isaiah Stewart.
I want to thank the city Fort Wayne for all the love and support. I also want to thank Northside for 3 amazing years, I’ll always be a Redskin/Legend❤️. But for my senior year I’ll be attending La Lumiere #TheNextChapter pic.twitter.com/JikEu6jyaa
— Keion Brooks Jr. (@KeionB_12) August 3, 2018
Though the news is simply a narrowed list, this is an important step for the Hoosiers. Archie Miller has stayed true to his promise of recruiting the state hard and Brooks has been a top priority for a long time.
With one piece of the 2019 group already settled in Franklin, Miller is searching for more in-state fire power. Brooks is a consensus top-two player in the state alongside another five-star forward, Trayce Jackson-Davis of Center Grove. In turn, landing Brooks would reflect positively on the growing momentum of in-state kids staying close to home.
At the moment, IU will only have two available scholarships for the 2019 cycle with the upcoming season being Juwan Morgan and Evan Fitzner’s last. Romeo Langford, and others could make that number grow if they declare for the NBA Draft early.
IU is currently the leader in landing Brooks’ services according to 24/7’s crystal ball, where the Hoosiers are leading with 50-percent of the votes. IU will have Brooks on campus this weekend for his official visit at Hoosier Hysteria. This will be the second year in a row that Brooks has attended the event.
Jackson-Davis will be attending with Brooks as well. The two are good friends and have discussed the possibility of playing together in college. They grew close after being teammates this past year in AAU on the Nike EYBL circuit for the Indy Heat. It is worth noting that Jackson-Davis has been rumored to be an IU lean for a long time and could be nearing his decision relatively soon. His list is down to four (IU, Michigan State, UCLA, and Iowa) and his official visits are nearly wrapped up.
Happy Birthday brother ???‼️ pic.twitter.com/751fa2n4lw
— TJD (@TrayceJackson) August 7, 2018
When looking at the battle for Brooks, IU has stiff competition across the board:
Kentucky has been Brooks’ ear for a long time, offering just over a year ago. It is easy to see the appeal of Brooks playing there with its rich history and John Calipari’s reputation of shipping his kids to the NBA. At the same time, Brooks might not enjoy the idea of joining a class that already has a player of the same position committed in Khalil Whitney. Whitney is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect for 2019 according to 24/7 Sports.
Tom Izzo and company are all-in for Brooks as well as Jackson-Davis, which could be a key dynamic in this recruitment. With only one commitment so far for 2019 in four-star guard, Rocket Watts, the Spartans have plenty of room for both Brooks and Jackson-Davis. Additionally, Izzo has quite the knack for recruiting Indiana kids, including current Spartan wing and Indianapolis native, Aaron Henry. Not to mention a plethora of Indiana talent who have all been drafted in recent years: Jaren Jackson Jr. of Carmel, Gary Harris of Fishers, and Branden Dawson of Gary.
The Tar Heels came into Brooks’ recruitment a little later than the rest, offering this past May, but have made up ground quickly. Coach Roy Williams has been the primary reason for that as he has made a strong impression on Brooks. If Brooks were to pick UNC, he would play a major role and be a focal point of its team, as he would replace likely one-and-done and current Tar Heel small forward, Nassir Little.
The Hoosiers’ rivals have been on Brooks the longest as they were the first school to offer, which has seemingly meant a lot. Coach Matt Painter has a history of sneaking into the Fort Wayne pocket, nabbing two former big time Boilermakers in Caleb Swanigan and Raphael Davis in recent years. Purdue’s 2019 recruiting class currently has three commits, all of which in-state kids, and one of them, Isaiah Thompson, is a good friend of Keion’s and AAU teammate as well.
Brooks is coming off a recent official visit to UCLA, which he took with Jackson-Davis. Both of which got a very Indiana flavor for a trip to California to make them feel more at home. They spent time with former La Lumiere and current UCLA point guard, Tyger Campbell, as well as the 2017 Mr. Basketball out of North Central High School and the Bruins’ star player, Kris Wilkes. Brooks plays the same position as Wilkes and has a very similar game and build. With what former Indiana Hoosier great and UCLA Coach, Steve Alford, has done with Wilkes, it is likely that Brooks could follow his example if he were to head to the Golden State.
In the end for Indiana, this is an ideal place to be in Brooks’ recruitment. Landing in his top six was step one, making an impression on him at Hoosier Hysteria this weekend is next.