Keion Brooks Jr. averaged just over 15.1 minutes per game last season, but toward the end of the year saw an expanded role that led to him being the “go-to” guy at the end of the regular season finale against Florida. He averaged just 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, but he is expected to lead the Wildcats this season as the most experienced returning player.
According to former Wildcat Nate Sestina, Brooks is ready for that challenge.
“Keion Brooks is about to have a huge sophomore year,” Sestina told Shawn Smith on the Kentucky Daily podcast. “He’s been working so hard since (COVID-19) happened. I talked to him the other day on the phone. He Facetimed me and we were talking. He’s just in such a different spot mentally because he understands what it takes to play college basketball at a high level.”
Brooks emerged last season as a dependable player that could make plays on both ends of the floor. And when there was a mass exodus during the off season, he has started to embrace the role of leader on a very talented 2020-2021 roster.
“He’s about to have an unbelievable sophomore year and really, really make a name for himself,” Sestina said of Brooks. “I think fans can expect Keion to play a bigger role and understand that he has to lead this team. He knows that and he knows what it takes to do that.”
This isn’t the first time former Cats have sang Brooks’ praises. Back in July, Sestina and Nick Richards said they are expecting big things from Brooks in Year 2.
“He can post, he can play on the perimeter, he can guard,” Nate Sestina said. “He can guard big guys. He was guarding Nick in practice, and Nick is fifty pounds heavier than him. He put on some weight too, so he’s feeling good. He’s going to have an unbelievable sophomore season.”
“You’re about to see something different,” Nick Richards told Go Big Blue Country. “Keion is actually a really talented player. He didn’t really get to show his entire game as a freshman, but I think this season, you will see a totally different side of him.”
Assuming there is a 2020-2021 college basketball season, and especially if Olivier Sarr is granted eligibility, the Kentucky roster is poised to be a contender for a national title. Every Kentucky team that has made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament has had a strong veteran presence, and all of that will rest of Brooks’ shoulders. If Nate Sestina is to be believed, Brooks is ready to carry that load.
Check out the rest of the interview with Nate Sestina on the Kentucky Daily Podcast with Shawn Smith and Derek Terry here.