Keion Brooks Jr.: beast on the court, old soul off the court

Published 11:17 pm Friday, June 21, 2019


If McDonald’s All-American and Washington signee Isaiah Stewart is right about high school teammate Keion Brooks Jr., Kentucky basketball fans are really going to like what the 6-foot-7 freshman does this season.

“To me he is definitely one of the best players in the (2019 recruiting) class. He can do it all,” Stewart said.

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They were teammates at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., and played in the GEICO High School Nationals title game as seniors. Brooks averaged 20.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for La Lumiere last season.

“I played against this guy every day in practice one-on-one. I feel great about his chances at Kentucky,” Stewart said. “Coach Cal is going to work with him, KP (Kenny Payne) is going to work with him every day to get him to where he wants to be.

“Definitely feel like he has that game that translates easily to the next level. I love playing with him as a teammate and he is just a beast.”

What does the five-star wing player do best?

“Makes tough shots,” Stewart said with no hesitation. “You can guard him as hard as you can and he will rise up and still hit that shot.

“You can spend 20 seconds on the shot clock guarding him and he still hits that shot. He is like a heart-crusher because there is nothing you can do to stop him and he just breaks your heart with the shots he makes when you think you have him stopped.”

Away from basketball, Stewart says there is a totally different side to Brooks.

“Off the court he is just a quiet, humble dude. He’s definitely an old soul, and I love that about him,” Stewart said. “He loves listening to old music, some of that old-time hip hop. I listen to Reggae and NBA YoungBoy and he will be listening to Fantasia or something like that. He put me on to that old school music, though. I was like, ‘Man, I have not heard this since I was like eight years old. How do you know all these songs?’ But I love him and wish him the best at Kentucky.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari and his staff did its best to get Stewart, a 6-foot-9 five-star power forward, to join the Wildcats but he went with Washington.

“KP, coach Cal are great people. I have nothing but great things to say about them. When I see them, it’s all love,” Stewart said. “I know KP is going to work Keion so hard to make him accomplish his goals. A lot of people don’t see what KP does but he is a great dude, great guy. I am always willing to accept a great dude like that.

“I just liked coach Hop (Mike Hopkins) and the energy he brings. I told him I would run through a brick wall for him. Nothing against Kentucky. I just liked coach Hop. They have some great dudes at Kentucky. Kahlil (Whitney) can do it all. Good dude, too. Same with Tyrese Maxey. They should be really good next year.”