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UK looking for Keion Brooks to make PJ/IQ-type rise in Year 2

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Tony Barbee is hoping so.

Big Blue Drew

Expectations are always sky-high for a John Calipari-coached Kentucky Wildcats team.

Since he arrived at UK just over a decade ago, the revamped rosters from year to always seem to possess the pieces to win a title, at least in the preseason. The 2020-2021 squad might just have an extra dose of optimism added to the normal hype.

With all of the logistics of COVID-19 dominating the headlines it still hasn’t discounted the undeniable fact that UK has some elite talent in Lexington.

Kentucky assistant coach Tony Barbee delivered some strong words during an interview with BBNTonight.

“We’re big, we’re long, we’re athletic, we’re versatile and we’re looking for Keion Brooks to have an Immanuel Quickley - PJ. Washington breakout sophomore season,” Barbee said.

If you ask me, this year’s team will be heavily dependent on freshman guards BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke. If the Cats are to make a run at a Final Four then it will be because Boston and Clarke willed them there. That being said, the development of Keion Brooks could prove to be paramount in UK’s quest for #9.

Last season, Brooks averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds while playing just over 15 minutes per game. There is no question that he will be relied on to contribute much more than that as it’s high-likely that he will start and be looked to as the leader in the front-court

We all remember the monumental leap that PJ Washington and Immanuel Quickley took in their sophomore seasons. If Brooks was able to develop his game in the off-season to mirror that kind of transformation then the Cats have the chance to be scary good.

Assuming Boston and Clarke play to their potential then UK shouldn’t need Brooks to fill the stat sheet night in and out but rather be a consistent option in the post.

Keion Brooks rises for the tip-off against Louisville on 12/28/19
Big Blue Drew

Don’t forget that Keion Brooks showed flashes to brilliance in his first season in Lexington. Remember his tip-in at the buzzer in regulation that would have beaten Louisville?

It was an incredible display of athleticism even though the shot somehow miraculously popped out. I’d expect to see more jaw-dropping plays from Brooks this season.