The reason Jeff Brooks found himself sitting in a Dallas airport Thursday night was because he feels wanted in Arkansas.
Brooks, a 6-8, 190-pound small forward from Louisville (KY) Doss, hopped two flights Thursday so he could spend this weekend in Fayetteville.
He'll be on hand tonight at Bud Walton Arena for the Razorback Hoops Mania, take in Saturday's football game and look over the school during his trip.
"The Arkansas coaches are great guys, they've made me feel wanted and I know they know what it takes to win on the college level and help get a player to the NBA," Brooks said. "I got a chance to watch (former Razorback and current NBA player) Ronnie Brewer and I saw some of there games and really like what they have going."
Brooks averaged just 11 points per game for Doss last season (good enough for offers from Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky), but grew two inches during this summer and came of age on the AAU circuit playing for the Derek Smith All-Stars.
"I grew a couple of inches and just got a lot more aggressive and started looking to score," Brooks said. "Before that, I was more of a pass guy. It was like I got a different mentality all of a sudden and could just really get what I wanted done
That AAU season got schools such as Arkansas, Louisville and Kentucky interested and brought offers from a host of schools including Penn State, Oregon, New Mexico State, West Virginia, Georgia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Old Dominion, East Carolina.
"The biggest difference in my play in high school and in AAU ball is that I get a chance to play on the perimeter in AAU and got to show the coaches how I can handle the ball, how I am pretty good shooter and how I can get to the basket," Brooks said. "I still need to work on my defense."
While he started to get noticed early in the summer, it was a banner performance in Las Vegas to end the AAU season that got the big boys interested.
"That's where I really blew up and it just came all together for me," said said Brooks, one of 10 seniors returning on a Doss squad that went 23-7 last season.
Brooks has taken an official visit to Penn State and unofficial visits to Kentucky and Louisville, where he has met with head coaches Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino.
"I took the visit to Penn State and it was very nice, have made a couple of trips to Louisville and one to Kentucky, " Brooks said. "I've got about eight schools I am interested in, but I am interested most in the ones that showed up to watch me workout and seem the most interested.
"That's Arkansas, Penn State, Oregon and New Mexico State," Brooks added. "That's really the five I am looking at the most."
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