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BREAKING: Keion Brooks Jr. is back for his junior season

by:Jack Pilgrim05/28/21

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Keion Brooks Jr. will return for his junior year at Kentucky.

After hinting at the possibility on Thursday by including the 6-foot-7 forward in next week’s media opportunities at Kentucky’s upcoming satellite camps, John Calipari confirmed Brooks will be back in Lexington next season on Friday.

When asked about the future plans of Brooks, Isaiah Jackson, Davion Mintz and Lance Ware, the UK head coach said that while Jackson and Mintz are still going through the draft process, both Brooks and Ware will be “big players for us” in 2021-22.

“Lance and Keion, they’re going to be big players for us,” Calipari said. “Everything seems good, everybody is getting back on campus, I believe tomorrow is when they start coming in. We’ll have a team full of guys to get ready for what we’re doing.”

Ware previously confirmed on his Instagram page that he would be back next season, a move that was announced on March 19, just nine days after the team’s season-ending loss to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament.

Now over two months later, we have confirmation that Brooks – who averaged 10.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 23.6 minutes per contest as a sophomore – will also return to Kentucky next season.

“You look at Keion, this is Keion’s year,” Calipari added. “You look at his numbers – he averaged 10 points, seven rebounds – that’s got to go up. That’s got to go up. 24 minutes, that should go up. He’s that veteran that you’re saying, “You’ve got to be the center of this.” He’s got to do it, he’s got to fight.”

With Brooks’ return, UK will now have at least one graduate transfer (Grady), one redshirt junior (Fredrick), four juniors (Brooks, Tshiebwe, Wheeler, Toppin), one redshirt sophomore (Allen) and one sophomore (Ware) on the roster compared to just three freshmen (Washington, Collins, Hopkins).

Calipari officially has his most experienced roster in 13 years at Kentucky.

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