INDIANAPOLIS — It looks like we might have our first Kentucky-Louisville recruiting battle of the Chris Mack era.
Keion Brooks, a 5-star small forward in the Class of 2019, said Friday he’s hearing a lot from both the Cats and Cards, and that the latter is increasingly appealing because U of L hired Mack. But Brooks also knows that UK coach John Calipari is taking no prisoners in this recruiting cycle.
“Kentucky is really hot on our class,” Brooks said, “and he’s trying to get the guys he wants to help him win a national championship. I’ve always grown up liking Kentucky. They’ve always made deep runs in March and they also have a good reputation of putting guys in the league, which is somewhere I ultimately want to be. If I was to go there, I think Coach Cal could help me fulfill my dreams.”
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Brooks, a 6-foot-8 rising senior from Fort Wayne, Ind., is ranked the 16th-best overall prospect in the country. He averaged 21 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 blocks and hit 12 of 21 3-pointers (57.1 percent) in his first four games on the Nike AAU circuit this spring.
“[Kentucky] gave me some comparisons, to like Kevin Knox this year,” Brooks said. “The way he was versatile and the way he was able to play all over the floor. I watched Kentucky a lot last year. And even before [Knox] committed and went there, I would look up highlights of his, try to steal things he does, try to implement them in my game.”
He doesn’t appear close to making a college decision — “still just enjoying the process” — but said he’d like to visit Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State and UCLA in the coming months. The Cardinals have made a major push since Mack was hired. The new coach already had Brooks’ number.
“When he was at Xavier, we had a good relationship,” Brooks said. “Now that he’s at a bigger school, he has more opportunity to get better players. That’s one of the things that’s intriguing to me, because he was a very good coach and now he’s on the biggest stage to do what he wants.”
Now Mack is recruiting with the blue bloods, which means this is likely just the beginning of Louisville vs. Kentucky for some of the best players in America.
MORE UK RECRUITING NEWS
- Maxey next? Wait, is 5-star 2019 point guard Tyrese Maxey really going to jump into 2018 and come to Kentucky with fellow 2019 5-star point guard Ashton Hagans and so many other elite guards? “We call ourselves The Duo,” he said of Hagans. “Possible duo. Sorry.” *insert eyeball emoji*
- Mini Mash: Will Jamal Washburn’s son get a call from Kentucky? It’s crazy how much he resembles Monster Mash — only smaller.
- Top-10 teammates: 5-star wings Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine are AAU teammates and special players. Both have been on Kentucky’s radar for a long time. What’s the latest?