By LARRY VAUGHT
After missing out on some top recruiting targets in the 2019 class, Kentucky coach John Calipari got another top five-star player Friday night when Keion Brooks of Indiana picked UK over Indiana and Michigan State.
The 6-7 Brooks plays for unbeaten La Lumiere, the No. 1 team going into the GEICO Nationals. He participated in the USA Basketball junior national team minicamp and will play in the Jordan Brand Classic and Allen Iverson Roundball Classic.
He’s a consensus top 20 player because of his size, length and athleticism. He could play power forward, small forward or even shooting guard and can create mismatches with the way he scores in different ways. He’s a terrific mid-range scorer who can put the ball on the floor and is an above average passer.
He is already being projected as a future first-round NBA pick.
Brooks made an unofficial visit to UK in February to see the Cats beat Tennessee and that apparently gave coach John Calipari the needed edge over Indiana and MichiganState.
He is ranked as the No. 4 small forward and No. 13 overall prospect in the 2019 class according to 247Sports.
He joins Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney, two McDonald’s All-Americans, in UK’s recruiting class along with Kentucky Mr. Basketball Dontaie Allen.
Brooks averaged 19.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game for the Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL circuit last travel season.
Recruiting writer Chris Fisher of 247Sports says all the “stars aligned” for Kentucky after Brooks’ unofficial visit in February combined with Indiana’s late-season ski.
“To get him on campus when Kentucky had is third largest crowd in Rupp Arena history and maybe the best atmosphere in year and beat the No. 1 team at the time was really huge,” Fisher said. “That put Kentucky in position to steal him late.”