COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Five-star senior forward Keion Brooks keeps strong relationships.
He’s close with his older brother, Darrius, even though there’s a six-year age gap and Darrius used to “beat up” on Brooks.
He’s tight with Trayce Jackson-Davis, another five-star recruit from Indiana.
And Brooks, a student at La Lumiere School (LaPorte, Ind.) has an intimate bond with Indiana as a state.
“We’re not called the basketball state for no reason,” he said. “I take pride in representing my state, representing my city where I’m from, so that really plays a lot in my decision of what I’m going to do.”
That was part of the pitch Indiana University gave him during his official visit in late September. Brooks said he talked to players, including New Albany, Ind., product native and five-star freshman Romeo Langford.
“Us being from Indiana, you know, going there, we would be taken care of the rest of our life,” Langford told Brooks.
But that’s no assurance Brooks will remain in his home state.
Brooks has also visited UCLA. He noted the weather was great and Steve Alford is a “player’s coach” who makes sure his players are comfortable on the court and in the classroom.
He also has official visits coming up with Kentucky on Oct. 20 and North Carolina on Nov. 2.
And while relationships matter to Brooks, he and Jackson-Davis aren’t a package deal.
“It’s nothing like we have to go to the same school together,” Brooks said. “We would love it and we would have fun, but if that was to happen, we would have to go somewhere where it benefits both of us to the maximum.”
It would be unacceptable for a school to focus on one of the pair’s development if it came at the detriment of the other.
He and Jackson-Davis know each other’s tendencies on the court. When one is in trouble, the other can get open. Brooks feeds it down low to the center, who forces double-teams and allows Brooks to get open.
His 3-point stroke isn’t quite where he wants it to be, Brooks said at the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp over the weekend.
But if Brooks has a strength, it’s his willingness to be physical on the floor. Even when going for a rebound after a foul shot during a late-practice scrimmage, he’ll try to fight through the box-out.
It’s something he took away from the scuffles he and his brother would get into as children.
“I’m a skinny dude, but I’ve never shied away from contact,” he said. “(Darrius) used to beat up on me every single day, so a little contact doesn’t faze me.”
Even though Brooks is now more than half a foot taller than his older sibling, he’s not as stocky or strong. USA Basketball minicamp presented a challenge that Brooks has dealt with for years involving Darrius.
Typically among the best players on the basketball court, Brooks was once again in a setting where he couldn’t impose his will physically on the competition.
He didn’t mind.
“I got (Darrius) one time,” he said. “It’s just fun to take what he’s taught me out there on the court and just be fearless.