In the end, Garrison Brooks couldn't pass up another opportunity to play at a school he dreamed about as a kid.
The 6-9 senior power forward from Auburn (Ala.) High School called Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams and verbally committed to North Carolina on Friday evening, Inside Carolina has confirmed.
Brooks reemerged last summer after averaging 18 points and eight rebounds for Team Carroll on the adidas circuit.
"His rapid progress to close out the July evaluation period attracted a surge of late interest from college coaches," said Inside Carolina lead scout Rob Harrington. "He always has featured the frame and running ability to compete at the high-major level, but now he has showcased a budding offensive game that could lift him to a greater early performance."
Brooks heard from UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis at the conclusion of the 2016 summer circuit. In September, Williams and Davis made their first visit to Auburn High to watch Brooks in an open gym. During an in-home visit later that day, Carolina offered a scholarship.
Brooks then opted to sign with Mississippi State during the Fall Signing Period, but requested and received his release earlier this month. He heard in-home pitches from Kansas, Iowa State, SMU and Purdue before making the call to Williams on Friday.
Brooks could pay immediate dividends for the Tar Heels. If Tony Bradley enters and stays in the NBA Draft, Williams's team will have lost three of its four post players from the 2016-17 national championship team, and rising junior Luke Maye will be the only returning interior player with any experience. That means Brooks, who won't turn 18 years old until after enrolling at UNC, has a chance to earn early playing time in Williams's rotation.
"He's a great kid who is humble and hardworking," said Chris Monroe, director of Team Carroll, Brooks's AAU team. "He shoots the mid-range really, really well. He's pretty athletic, blocks a lot of shots. He's 6-9, but he can play with his back to the basket or face up. I'd label him as a power forward, but he's good enough with his body to where he can guard bigger kids. He's versatile, he can guard a '4' man and has the intelligence to guard others."
Brooks joins a UNC incoming freshman class that is composed of guards Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek, and posts Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.