Five Star 2019 SF Keion Brooks, Jr. proves character counts as he picks up his Michigan State offer
When you do what I do for a living and are embedded in an athletic program like Michigan State you see a lot. When you have done it as long as I have you see even more. While the family is at the center of a young person’s development, I can’t tell you the numerous amounts of families that I have seen ruin young men with unrealistic expectations and enablement. It is sad.
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I have seen fans deride a coach for a player’s performance only to think to myself, “How about blaming the parents who had them for 18 years instead of Izzo for a few months.”
But then you meet people like the Brooks family. I have already told you about this amazing family before YOU CAN READ THAT HERE, but these humble people continue to set a new standard. While their son is a five star player, he is also a five star human being.
The young man is clearly the best player in the talent rich state of Indiana for 2019 and may end up the best player in the nation. Something Tom Izzo noticed when he started recruiting him in seventh grade.
So on Sunday after the Spartans beat arch rival Michigan, the Spartans ICONIC Hall of Fame head coach invited the Brooks family up to his office. It was in that meeting that he extended a scholarship offer to Brooks, Jr.
Brooks, Jr. told me last night about the moment, “It was very surreal for me. Humbling may be a better way of saying it. To be in the office of the Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo, and have him offer me a scholarship to play for him. He has been recruiting me since seventh grade, but it wasn’t something he had to do. I am humbled.”
Brooks, Sr. went farther. This amazing dad sat and watched his son’s dream moment unfold in front of him. “Here we were sitting in the office of one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball. A Hall of Fame coach. You sit there and listen to him tell your son how he can help him and his program. It was mind blowing. He recruited him since seventh grade and you realize how amazing of a coach he is to have seen and identified my son’s talents so young.”
While so many players lavished with praise and attention make it about themselves, that isn’t the DNA or the cloth the Brooks family is cut from. Brooks, Jr. elaborated in refreshing context by saying, “I do enjoy the process, but an offer is just the beginning. I have a lot more work to do. An offer means I am good enough to be on a college team, but now there is a lot of work to be a player and a starter and then more to do. Most importantly as a man, personally there is still work to be done on me. I want to work on being a man even more than basketball.”
Sunday was a great day to be a Spartan. Anytime you beat Michigan is great, but the Breslin lived up to its reputation as one of the most ICONIC sports arenas in the nation and it was rocking. Brooks, Sr. loves the place and told me about his many trips there, “We started coming to Michigan State games since coach started recruiting Keion in seventh grade. The last time was against Louisville last year, but that place (Breslin) is great. It is a great atmosphere and a great place to watch basketball. Sunday they were just great against Michigan.”
The Izzone is one of the all-time greatest student sections and they are also incredibly knowledgeable. With a room packed with some amazing recruits, they knew that perhaps the best player in the nation for the 2019 class was in the house. As they chanted and cheered “We want Keion” the young star didn’t see his ego grow to stratospheric levels. In fact, it humbled him more.
Brooks, Jr. said, “It is humbling to have an entire stadium chanting, ‘We want Keion.’ That meant a lot to me, but it is also a responsibility to live up to that and I understand that. When people do that it is a blessing, but it is also a responsibility. I recognize that.”
Humorously when I asked Brooks, Jr. about the praise he gets as a person of character he quickly deflected the praise. “I am so thankful to have the parents I do for how they raised me. That (Praise) speaks of how fortunate I am to have parents that raised me like they did. I want to really credit them.”
It is so refreshing to see a five star player who is more importantly a five star young person. Credit that to five star parents. But when you see the humility that Brooks, Jr. shows, you quickly see where he gets it when you ask his dad about his son.
Brooks, Sr. when I asked him about raising such a special person and not just a football person deflected any credit. He simply said, “The thing I tell most people is that it is a blessing from God above. I don’t think we did anything special or any great parenting skills, we just were there and present. My son and my family are a blessing. A look at the young man he is and I thank God for my blessing. I am a blessed man and I won’t try to take credit for what God has done. To be in a household with both parents I believe helps children a lot.”
Who knows where Brooks will play basketball, the young man is only a sophomore in high school. What I do know is that the Spartan Nation has the best coach in the county and judging the Brooks family he is trying to add the best people. It is rare when you can recruit as five star basketball player, and it is even more rare when you can recruit a five start player and five star person at the same time. Perhaps the rarest of all is when you can recruit a five star player and a five star person from a five star family.
Brooks, Sr. when asked about what stood out most on Sunday had something to say that had nothing to do with his son. “I couldn’t believe Lupe Izzo working hard for the food bank. Here is a multi-millionaire coach’s wife helping the community. Not just writing checks, working. That tells you about the people they are. I joked with coach he talked about her heart. They are special people.” Brooks, Sr. would know. He and is family are as well.