By LARRY VAUGHT
Recruiting rankings have never been a huge topic of conversation for Keion Brooks Sr. and his son, Keion Brooks Jr., a Kentucky five-star freshman basketball player.
Brooks Jr. was ranked among the nation’s top 15 players in the 2019 recruiting class but some believe he could be even better playing for coach John Calipari than some suspect.
“I have never really thought about where people put him (in the rankings),” Brooks Sr. said. “We walk about the number in front of the game but what you do with the production behind it is what really matters. He can go out and be productive and show what he can do on the floor and it will speak for itself. A lot of times you can get caught up in rankings and kids will lose focus on what they need to do and can do.
“He just wants to win and understands the game is a team concept. It’s all about winning at the end and what have you done to help your team win and could you have done even more. He’s always been taught to make winning plays and that is not always scoring. He can be setting a screen or defending a key play. Just do whatever it takes to win is what he does.”
Brooks Sr. has seen Calipari “preach” that same philosophy to his players the last few years. The UK freshman’s father looks at numbers and has seen how Calipari’s players have balanced minutes and points per game.
“It’s not a one-man show. It’s a balanced attack. It’s who is in the right place to make plays at the right time,” Brooks Sr. said. “One of the things that really stood out to us with Coach was all of the players getting a chance to eat and trust in their brothers. You do that, everybody succeeds and you play winning basketball. One thing I really enjoyed in conversations during recruiting was when Coach talked about the game is not about shots but what you can do to help the team win.”