Keion Brooks says Calipari has big plans for him
There’s still a little bit of mystery on the eve of Keion Brooks’ college announcement, but Kentucky clearly has the momentum going into the highly touted basketball recruit’s big day.
Brooks — a 6-foot-7 wing from Fort Wayne, Ind. — will reveal his college decision during a ceremony in his hometown Friday at 8 p.m. The announcement will be shown live on CBS Sports HQ and streamed on the 247Sports basketball recruiting website.
The most recent predictions on Brooks’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page have all been in favor of UK, but there still hasn’t been a massive run of like-minded picks that often lead up to a five-star recruit’s decision day. Several national recruiting analysts have yet to make any public predictions, and some observers are still giving home-state Indiana a decent shot.
On Thursday morning, however, Rivals.com national analyst Corey Evans switched his longtime Indiana prediction to Kentucky, giving the Cats the nod on Brooks’ Rivals FutureCast page. He has been correct on 88 percent of his FutureCast predictions so far.
“I’ve always stuck with Indiana, and I think it could still be Indiana,” Evans told the Herald-Leader on Thursday afternoon. “But I think the idea of attending the blue-blood school, with Keion, has kind of weighed on his mind the entire time. And I think that’s what is going to win out with him. Even though there might be a bigger opportunity, when it comes to shots and this and that (at Indiana), I think that Keion likes the challenge. And that’s the one thing that we’ve always heard about with Calipari — the challenge. ‘Come here if you want it.’
“I think Keion has kind of taken hold of that challenge and wants to face it and see what he can do with it.”
Brooks was one of the first players in the 2019 recruiting class to land a scholarship offer from Kentucky — back in September of 2017 — and the Cats have been among his top schools ever since. His other finalists include Indiana and North Carolina, but everyone in recruiting circles has pegged this as a Cats vs. Hoosiers battle for the past few weeks. And UK has had the momentum since Brooks showed up at Rupp Arena for the Cats’ game against Tennessee last month.
National recruiting experts Jerry Meyer and Andrew Slater are among those who have logged pro-UK predictions in recent weeks, while other analysts were still undecided — making no picks either way — with a little more than 24 hours to go until Brooks’ announcement.
As of Thursday evening, there were no longer any national recruiting analysts publicly picking the Hoosiers, who have recruited Brooks as hard as anyone in the 2019 class and already have a commitment from his friend and Nike league teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis, a fellow Indiana native and five-star prospect.
Brooks appears set to go a different route, leaving one basketball-crazed state for another to play his college ball. Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 27 player in the 2019 class, and he’s No. 23 overall in the 247Sports composite rankings for that group.
If he does pick UK on Friday night, Brooks would join five-star point guard Tyrese Maxey — another longtime friend — as well as highly touted wings Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen in the Cats’ 2019 recruiting class. The addition would push Kentucky from No. 10 to No. 2 nationally — behind only Arizona — in the 247Sports composite class rankings for 2019.