NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kentucky basketball’s 2019 postseason run is just starting, but its roster for next season is continuing to take shape.
Five-star class of 2019 swingman Keion Brooks, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana, committed to Kentucky Friday over Indiana, Michigan State, North Carolina, Purdue and UCLA. He announced the commitment in a ceremony streamed online by CBS Sports while Kentucky was playing its opening Southeastern Conference Tournament game.
Indiana was long believed to be the favorite for the Hooiser State native, but the tide began to shift in favor of Kentucky over the last month after Brooks took an unofficial visit to UK for the Kentucky-Tennessee game in Rupp Arena on Feb. 16.
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Brooks is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the 2019 class and No. 6 small forward by the 247Sports Composite, which averages the ratings of the major recruiting services. He joins a UK class that already includes commitments from five-star guard Tyrese Maxey, five-star forward Kahlil Whitney and four-star 2019 Mr. Kentucky Basketball Dontaie Allen.
What commitment means for Kentucky
Calipari has loaded up at the small forward position in the 2019 class as Brooks, Whitney and Allen are all listed at that spot by 247Sports.
With Kentucky still looking for a true post player in its 2019 class and the future of UK’s current big men unknown, the makeup of the class could force Calipari to embrace a “small ball” lineup with Whitney and Brooks at the three and four. Allen’s status is uncertain for the beginning of his freshman year as he rehabs from a torn ACL that ended his high school senior season in December.
All three forwards prefer to play on the perimeter — Brooks shot 35.8 percent from 3-point range (19 for 53) on the Nike EYBL circuit last summer — so a lineup with Brooks and Whitney on the floor together (likely alongside Maxey and either current UK freshmen Ashton Hagans or Immanuel Quickley depending on their stay-go decisions, assuming Tyler Herro’s rising draft stock sends him to the NBA after this season) would create an abundance of offensive spacing for Kentucky but might present matchup problems with taller opponents.
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Kentucky pitched Brooks on playing a role like the one it used for former Wildcat Kevin Knox, who boasts a similar frame and skillset.
“I’ve always grown up liking Kentucky,” he said last spring. “They always make deep runs into March and they also have a good reputation for putting guys in the league. It’s somewhere I ultimately want to be. If I was to go there, I think Coach Cal could help me fulfill my dreams.”
Brooks’ commitment also represents an important head-to-head recruiting win with Indiana and Hooisers coach Archie Miller, a close friend of Calipari. Miller signed New Albany star Romeo Langford in the 2018 class and five-star Indiana prep center Trayce Jackson-Davis in the 2019 class and could have sent a strong …read more
Source:: Daily times