Brooks Has Memorable Official Visit

Joey Brooks wanted to fit in instead of standout during a scrimmage inside the Joyce Center two weekends ago.

But with one quick move to the bucket, Joey Brooks put a slight halt in the action of a Saturday morning workout with the Notre Dame basketball team.

"I'm not going to lie, I had a nasty dunk," the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Brooks said. The Houston, Texas product and Notre Dame verbal commit was on campus for his official visit the weekend of Sept. 13th. "It was a one-time thing, just to show something was there.

It was something the Notre Dame gym hadn't seen in awhile.

"I came off a screen and I did like a hesitation move, and the lane opened up. It was nasty and there was a whole bunch of fans in there, and I got some ooohs. I was pretty happy."

Brooks came to South Bend for the weekend with his parents, brother and sister. It was his second time playing with the Irish basketball team.

"I actually didn't think I played that well," Brooks said. As a junior at Strake Jesuit, Brooks averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists, earning all-state honors. "It's kind of hard because I'm not used to playing with those guys, so I was trying more to stay out of the way. But overall, I didn't play bad, but I didn't play as well as I can.

"I wasn't disappointed though. Those guys are like the fourth-ranked team in the country."

Brooks' dunk was a preview of what's to come when he arrives as a Notre Dame student in the fall of 2009. In an offense that spreads the floor and moves the ball around as well as any team in the country, Brooks' game as a slasher and finisher around the bucket will give the Irish team a weapon they currently don't have.

"They actually told me, they were like I didn't know you could do that," Brooks said of his future teammates. "Last time, I was also hesitant when we played. They were messing with me in the locker room, so yeah."

Brooks arrived on Friday, and left Notre Dame on Sunday. He spent quality time with the players, coaches, and fellow verbal commit Jack Cooley and five-star recruit Ryan Kelly, both of whom were also in on official visits.

"It was a lot of fun, it exceeded my expectations," Brooks said.

"I didn't really have a host. I went around with a bunch of guys. I hung out with Ben (Hansbrough), and of course Carleton (Scott), and Luke (Harangody), but I was with everybody.

"We hung out, went to Kyle's (McAlarney) house. Hung out with the team a bunch. We just had a lot of fun. It was actually my first time meeting coach (Anthony) Solomon face to face so that was cool. I liked him a lot."

One of the highlights of the trips for Brooks was the football festivities surrounding Notre Dame's 35-17 win over rival Michigan.

"It was ridiculous," Brooks said. "I was sitting with the team, me and Ryan (Kelly) were sitting next to each other, and at the beginning, when they got those two turnovers, everyone started going crazy and Ryan and I looked at each other and said this is ridiculous. And before the game, we were down on the field, and when the parachuters came down with the game ball, that was off the wall. We had fun."

Brooks has been texting with Kelly on a regular basis, since the two have left campus. The 6-foot-10 ½-inch Kelly will soon decide on school from his list of finalists, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina or Georgetown. Brooks has been doing whatever he can including keeping in touch with Kelly's girlfriend on Facebook, to try and get Kelly to ink with the Irish.

"I'm trying really hard," Brooks said. "I feel like I should be getting paid for my recruiting efforts, but I really think if we can add him to me, Jack, Mike (Broghammer) and the (Matt) Vogrich kid, we're going to be really good, as in Big East Championship good. I think we have a shot to be that good. I'm really excited, and I'm staying on Ryan.

"He knows about the big opportunity he has, the same one we all have, to play right away. Hopefully he makes the right choice. He seemed comfortable with us on the visit. I'm hoping that turns into a commitment."

While in town, Brooks couldn't help but picture himself living day-to-day on Notre Dame's campus.

"I'm just excited about the whole situation," he said. "Me, Kyle and Ryan Ayers were talking, and I was trying to soak up all the knowledge I can about what's the biggest transition I'm going to have to make and things like that.

"At the end, Kyle said you're going to be so good here, just watching you play, you're going to fit in so well here. That meant a lot coming from Kyle. I'm happy."


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