Spring Grove (PA) star 2017 point guard Eli Brooks is an unknown on the recruiting scene... he's not ranked by any of the major recruiting services. However, his high school coach, James Brooks, who also happens to be his father, believes in Eli's ability, especially after he led Spring Grove to the school's first league title since 1971.
"Eli is a point guard who can distribute the basketball and knock down jumpshots," said coach Brooks. "Last year he had a great season for us. He had over 700 points, hit 79 3-pointers, over 150 rebounds, and he led us in assists.
"At that point, he had 10 or 11 offers, mainly from schools in the Patriot or Ivy League and then after the season he started to add offers from the A-10 schools. With his play in AAU, he's now started to generate looks from BIG 10 and ACC schools and he's picked up a couple of high major offers as well."
Brooks doesn't play in an area loaded with elite competition and because of that strong play in AAU is critical to his future.
"We don't play against a lot of 6'9 guys who can hit 3's at my high school," he said, laughing. "We don't even play a lot of 6'9 guys. So AAU gives me a chance to do that. I can challenge myself and show what I can do on the court, and it also gives me the confidence that I can play on the highest levels... that I can playing in the best conferences."
Brooks is playing with the Jersey Shores Warriors on the Elevate Hoops circuit, and even though it's not one of the three main AAU circuits college coaches have found their way to various venues to watch Brooks in action.
Kansas State offered him a scholarship back in April, his first Power 5 scholarship offer, and NC State became the first ACC school to offer him a scholarship on Thursday.
"I spoke with the NC State coaches, and they loved the way he reads the court," said coach Brooks. "They called him a quarterback. Most of the point guards now look to just score, but Eli gets everyone involved. He tries to make everyone around him better.
"They also talked about how they loved his toughness and ability to defend. He's sneaky athletic too, and they liked that as well."
Wolfpack assistant Heath Schroyer is recruiting Brooks for NC State, and they watched him last week while he was playing in a couple of tournaments in Philadelphia.
"They told me they like my leadership," said Brooks. "They were telling me how they think I could continue to develop and how I play well on both ends of the floor.
"Getting that offer, from an ACC school... it's pretty crazy. I live about 40 minutes from Mount Saint Mary's, and I remember talking with my mom when I was nine years old about maybe playing there. Now we're talking about the ACC. It's the best conference in the country. It's crazy."
"Getting an offer from an ACC school is pretty ground-breaking in our area," added coach Brooks. "It doesn't happen often, but it shows that his hard work is paying off, and he's doing a lot of things right."
What does Brooks know about the Wolfpack?
"I'm not that familiar with them, but I do know they have great facilities," he said. "I've heard great things about their facilities, the campus, and they have a great reputation. I may be trying to get there for a visit at some point soon."
Look for Brooks to continue to add offers. He has two more weeks of playing in front of college coaches, and he believes schools like Michigan, Villanova, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Iowa could be close to joining the mix.
"Those have talked about maybe offering," he stated. "I think they are close."
Brooks added that he hopes to have a decision made by the end of August, and he knows what he will be looking for in a school.
"It's going to be about the feel," he said. "I need to feel great about the coaching staff and the players. It needs to be a place where I can develop and fit in the best for the next four years.
"Obviously as a player you want to be able to get on the court as a freshman or sophomore. You want to play, but I think you need to earn your stripes by working hard day-in and day-out, so playing early is important but I do think you need to earn it."
NOTE: Photo courtesy of Josh Verlin/City Basketball Love