A Q&A With George Brooks

The newest member of the Mississippi State men's basketball coaching staff, George Brooks, took time out of his busy day to talk one on one with Gene's Page late Monday afternoon.

How did your hiring by Mississippi State come about?
George Brooks - "I found out that Coach Kirby had left the staff so I talked to Coach (Rick Stansbury) and applied. It really wasn't complicated."

When did you find out that you were hired?
"I guess it was about a week ago."

When you received the news what was your reaction?
"I couldn't believe it. I was excited out of my mind. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for me so it was a pretty ecstatic, busy Tuesday morning."

Being hired to coach at Mississippi State is different for you since you played here, isn't it?
"It is a lot different for me because it is home. It is the best job for me in this conference because I played here. I walked down the (office) hallway as a player. I'm on the staff of the coach who recruited me to play at Mississippi State 20-something years ago. And (current MSU assistant coach) Marcus (Grant) and I were freshmen together. (Current MSU assistant) Coach (Phil) Cunningham was a graduate assistant my freshman year. There are a lot of connections. It couldn't be more familiar for me. It's home for me."

Just like it helps to be familiar with other players, having so many connections here should also help you as an assistant coach?
"Yeah, I've known all of them for a long time. These guys have been nothing but nice to me all throughout my life, especially since I have been back this week. They have taken time out to point me in the right direction with everything."

Speaking of familiarity, due to coaching on the Mississippi junior college level for a number of years you are very familiar with the state of Mississippi, not just the talented players but high school and AAU coaches.
"Right. Being at Meridian (Community College) since 1997, there are not a lot of people who have recruited the state much longer than me. I think there will be a smooth transition from Meridian to here due to my connections to the basketball world of Mississippi."

How will it be different, recruiting-wise, from working at a junior college to working at a four-year NCAA school?
"The (recruiting) schedule will be different but you are dealing with the same people. And you also have the (Mississippi State) Bulldog (logo) on your chest which makes it better, obviously."

You actually were able to get to know players and coaches on a more personal level while at junior college weren't you?
"Yes, you didn't have limits on the number of contacts you could make."

Plus, your recruiting base was primarily Mississippi.
"That's right. We were able to recruit the entire state of Mississippi twelve months a year, including evaluations and other things like that. The other junior colleges only did that until their protected list came out."

Have you been told what positions you will coach on the team?
"Coach hasn't really said which one I would coach. Right now, it's player-development. And I'm comfortable with either one because I had to coach either one in juco."

What kind of staff did you have at Meridian?
"I had some volunteers that were great but we didn't have a paid assistant. But Meridian was good to me. Doing so much really helps you and is better for you in the long run. You are more comfortable with the film exchange, watching film, recruiting, coaching different positions, all of it."

Although this is a dream job for you, was it a little difficult to leave the Meridian Community College people?
"I had some other opportunities but this was the best fit for me. But it was still hard to leave some of the people because they were dear friends. I had gone through a lot with some of them during my 13 years. You see them go through highs and lows and they see you go through highs and lows. It was tough.

"I graduated from here, then went down there the next week and haven't worked anywhere since."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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