John Calipari has won some fierce recruiting battles over the years, but Keion Brooks may have been one of his toughest.
The five-star Indiana native was long believed to eventually pick the home-state school, but Kentucky managed to pull him away from the Indiana Hoosiers and get him to Lexington, where he’ll be a vital piece for what should be a preseason top-five team next season. The North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans were also firmly in the mix until he picked the Cats in March.
On Wednesday, Brooks put pen to paper on the first day of the spring signing period.
“At the end of the day, it just came down to the relationship I built with Coach Cal,” Brooks said at his announcement ceremony in March. “He’s always told me he can put me in a position to reach and achieve my dreams and my goals. When I sat down and talked to him for the last time, I felt very comfortable making my decision of going to Kentucky.”
With Kentucky thin in the frontcourt for next season, getting Brooks was huge for Calipari, as the 6-8 forward will likely spend a lot of time at the 4 spot next season, especially since Calipari plans to play smaller and faster now. Brooks is the kind of versatile big man that Calipari loves to get each year, and he’s also one of the most balanced recruits in the Class of 2019.
“Keion is such a unique player because he has guard play-making ability in a 6-7, physical frame,” Calipari said. “In the last year at La Lumiere, he has physically improved leaps and bounds and is going to continue to get stronger. He helped his team to a 29-1 record, which shows you he’s a winner. We expect him to have a major impact on this program just like he did at La Lumiere. He’s a great kid from a great family, and I can’t wait to get him here.”
Brooks, who is ranked 13th overall by 247 Sports, should see a nice bump in his overall ranking once the final 2019 rankings come out. He’s currently ranked 23rd overall, mainly due to his lower ranking of 38th overall at ESPN. He absolutely should be a consensus five-star recruit when it’s all said and done, and UK fans are going to love watching him play next season.
Check out some recent highlights of Brooks in action: