Before Creighton takes its game to New York City for next season's Big East Conference tournament, a product of the Big Apple is bringing his skills to Omaha.
Devin Brooks, a 6-foot-2 point guard originally from Harlem, has committed to spend his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility at Creighton after an impressive pair of campaigns at Iowa Western Community College. Brooks describes himself as a physical guard with the ability to finish around the rim.
"I prefer getting to the hole. That's the strongest part of my game," Brooks said over the phone on Tuesday afternoon.
Although he may be at his best when he penetrates, Brooks is capable scorer on the perimeter, as well. In his final game as a Reiver, Brooks was pitted against one of the nation's elite junior-college players, Chris Jones. Jones, a four-star prospect, will head to Louisville next season where he is expected to replace Peyton Siva at the point for Rick Pitino's squad. With a spot in the NJCAA Final Four on the line and a tough assignment opposite him, Brooks rose to the occasion. The Reivers leading scorer hit 5-of-8 3-pointers and finished with 29 points to Jones' 19, although Iowa Western lost in overtime. Watching teams struggle to defend Brooks is nothing new to Reviers' head coach, Jim Morris.
"He's very hard to guard. He's really, really quick, and he can really break you down. He's got excellent individual moves," said Morris.
"He can handle the ball as well as anybody I've ever seen. The ball is a yo-yo on a string. He can really take care of that thing, and take it, no matter which way, at full speed."
Like some of the other gifted point guards to come out of N.Y.C. before him, it's possible that Brooks' greatest strength as a player can sometimes double as his biggest weakness.
"I've had trouble with him just over-dribbling the thing," said Morris. "He's gotten better at that as he's gone. It's certainly better than it was when he was a freshman, and he will get better as he goes."
Brooks added stamina and defense to the list of skills he is working to improve before he transitions to life on the west side of the Missouri river. Morris noted that Brooks is blessed with long arms and lateral quickness, giving him the physical tools to be an imposing defender if he so chooses.
Brooks chose Creighton over Illinois State, Murray State, Southern Illinois, and Texas A&M, and expects to sign his letter of intent in the next week. While he has always dreamed of playing in Madison Square Garden – something he'll experience less than a year from now -, the move to the Big East wasn't the only selling point that made him want to be a Bluejay.
"The fan base and just a lot of how much they need me," said Brooks when asked what turned him towards Creighton. "I see myself going there. I see myself making a better impact at Creighton rather (than) if I went to any other school."
If the Bluejays' roster stays intact and Doug McDermott opts to return for his senior season, Creighton will not have another scholarship to offer, making Brooks the final member of the recruiting class. Regardless of how the rest of the roster turns out, it looks like Creighton has brought a basketball version of the "New York State of Mind," to Omaha.
Brooks Brings Big-City Game to Bluejays
Bluejay Report Top Stories
Illini Inquirer Recruiting Lounge: July 21Every Friday, the Illini Inquirer staff and Scout experts give the latest Illini recruiting buzz and analysis in the Recruiting Lounge. Step inside to see the latest!
Illini Inquirer6:30 AM
IITV: The Ayo Dosunmu pursuitDerek Piper and Jeremy Werner discuss the development of top-30 guard Ayo Dosunmu and the Illini's top competition in their pursuit of the Chicago guard
Illini InquirerYesterday at 12:11 PM
NY2LA: Dosunmu talks top schoolsMEQUON, Wisc - Big time talent Ayo Dosunmu had an impressive showing at the NY2LA Swish N Dish and talked about potential visits and more.
Scout HoopsWednesday at 9:47 PM