Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Keion Brooks Jr. sets a decision date

by:Jack Pilgrim03/05/19
[caption id="attachment_257355" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo: ZagsBlog.com[/caption] On Sunday afternoon, 2019 five-star forward Keion Brooks Jr. announced that he would be making his final decision on March 15 at 8:00 p.m., certainly huge news for not only the college basketball recruiting scene, but also the Kentucky Wildcats. As we've discussed regularly on KSR over the last several weeks, Kentucky is one of the main contenders in this recruitment, and they'll have a major shot to win out in the end. Today, we will be diving deep into the Brooks' decision by looking at it from the perspective of all the main parties involved, breaking down the rumors, separating the truth from the speculation, and more. Let's take a look.

Keion Brooks Jr.

Keion Brooks Forward | 6-8 | 185 lbs. Fort Wayne, IN | North Side AAU: Spiece Indy Heat
ESPN No. 30 | 9 PF Top247 No. 16 | 5 SF
Rivals No. 35 | 13 PF 247 Comp. No. 22 | 6 SF
Sources told KSR last week that Brooks would sit down with his family to talk through recruiting and take the final steps toward making a decision during his Spring Break. Coming off his unofficial visit to Kentucky, there was talk that he could pull the trigger later that week, but most people I talked to felt he would want to have some time to clear his head and think things through before making an emotional decision. With his Spring Break starting this past weekend, he got the chance within the first day or two to sit down and talk things over with his family and closest friends, and they ended up deciding on March 15 to give him just enough time to be 100 percent certain with everything. While he may have a solid idea of where he's leaning, I can confirm he has not made up his mind and wants to use the time between now and then to weigh all the options and make a decision he's happy with. As far as the decision date is concerned, I have been told that everything was set prior to all of the college basketball games being played this past weekend. So for those wondering, no, Brooks did not watch Indiana defeat Michigan State and Kentucky get smothered by Tennessee and let it impact his decision in the slightest. I wouldn't read anything into that. It is also my understanding that Brooks will not be making any other visits prior to his announcement (especially no rescheduled visit to Michigan State), though there is a possibility that all of the coaches involved will make trips to Fort Wayne in the ten days or so leading up to the big day. I will add that former KSR writer TJ Walker said on his radio show yesterday that he heard from a source this weekend that Kentucky was ready to "seal the deal" on a recruit, and not long after, Brooks announced his decision date. Put two and two together, and that seems to be solid news for Kentucky. While I can't confirm whether or not the Kentucky staff has already visited Brooks over the last few days, I have been told that they do plan on seeing him before the announcement date. That should cover most of the date-specific stuff. As far as the location of the announcement is concerned, Brooks said that it will take place at his middle school of St. Paul's Lutheran School in Fort Wayne. https://twitter.com/KeionB_12/status/1102359489993494529 In an interview with Brian Snow of 247 Sports, Brooks said that he's excited to have his "family and teammates" there. “It means a lot to me that I will have a chance to have my family and teammates there,” said Brooks. “All of them have been instrumental in getting me to this point, and have helped me a lot along the way. I would be doing a major disservice to them if they weren’t around, so I am excited to have them there supporting me.” While it is a public church, and thus, the announcement will technically be open to the public, I do find it interesting that they are not actively inviting the Indiana locals to come out. We've seen the public school announcements where all family, friends, students, and fans are encouraged to attend, similar to what we saw with Romeo Langford just last year. Usually those announcements favor the home school, but with this, we haven't seen anything like that. Make of that what you will. Keion Brooks Sr. also tweeted out "Time to be selfish!" in response to his son's announcement on Sunday, a phrase that has been dissected and investigated thoroughly from the moment it was posted. https://twitter.com/keion_brooks/status/1102359939702550528 He also tweeted, "Only one person has walked your shoes through this journey it’s your time to shine! #allaboutyou #SCHOLARSHIPSOVERCHAMPIONSHIPS" in another post. What decision would be "selfish," exactly? As far as the "Scholarships over championships" line is concerned, it's a common phrase throughout Indiana high school and AAU basketball and has no significance in terms of specific school choice. Brooks Sr. has tweeted that phrase in reference to Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan State, and North Carolina in the past. Don't read anything into that. Now onto the actual schools involved. The general consensus right now amongst several sources both on Kentucky and Indiana's side is that Brooks favors the Hoosiers ever-so-slightly, but it's not enough to sway his decision either way. Disregard the "hometown hero" pitch, he simply would enjoy playing in front of his friends and family every night and represent his state. That's the extent of it. Oddly enough, after months of hearing about his closest friends and family pulling at his heartstrings to stay home, I have actually been told that the script has flipped a bit on that. There are actually several people inside Brooks' circle that favor Kentucky, saying they'll make the trip to see him in Lexington each game, too. To take it a step further, I've been told that while they won't make this decision about them in the slightest (as we've seen with several other elite prospects in the past), they actually favor Kentucky over Indiana in terms of believing in Coach Cal and the UK coaching staff pushing him to reach his maximum potential. While he gives the (very) slight edge to IU, I'm told he strongly values the opinions of his loved ones (they are a really tight-knit group), and that's why Kentucky is the perceived favorite to land the five-star prospect right now. Brooks loves Kentucky, he loves John Calipari, he loves the facilities, he loves the fans, he loves his potential teammates, and he loves the idea of playing one or two years in Lexington before making the jump to the NBA. Based on everything I've been told, Kentucky's pitch was just about as perfect as you can get and the UK coaching staff deserves a ton of credit just to be in the position they're in right now. With how poorly Indiana has played this season and the idea that they will likely have to replace two of their top scorers, one being Romeo Langford, next season, that's weighing heavily on him. He has always favored Indiana and it's always been his dream to represent his home state by playing in Bloomington, that dream might not align with what's best for his future right now. It's why most of the best national recruiting writers are picking Kentucky. And it's why I'm still sticking to my prediction of Kentucky. From a school perspective, both main contenders in Kentucky and Indiana are really confident, so it's tough to make much of anything from either side. Coaching staffs tend to be more confident than what might be reality in some instances. I heard one rumor that the Michigan State coaching staff genuinely believes they're getting Brooks, though everyone else I've talked to indicates the Spartans are extremely off base with this. Combine everything together, and I'd probably put the percentages at: 60% Kentucky 35% Indiana 5% Michigan State 0% North Carolina (or anyone else) The week leading up to the announcement is when we usually hear of leaks and more context to past rumors, so next week's insider notes will almost certainly be jam-packed with information on Brooks as we prepare for his big decision. I'll see you then. [mobile_ad]

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