The Bruins have open spots on their roster, and so they could also be looking towards some big names with the intention to fill them.
UCLA men’s basketball has been in regular contact with Kentucky transfer forward Keion Brooks, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Friday morning. Brooks is currently within the NBA Draft Pool, but his brother reportedly told Rothstein he’s hearing from 16 different schools as potential landing spots should he play his fourth yr of school hoops.
The opposite schools reportedly courting Brooks are Arizona, BYU, DePaul, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, UNLV and Washington.
Rothstein’s report comes per week after Tracy Pierson of 247Sports’ Bruin Report Online wrote a bit on how the Bruins could goal Brooks within the portal.
Brooks was a five-star recruit coming out of highschool, in line with each 247Sports and Rivals, and he even took an official visit to Westwood back in August 2018. Picking Kentucky over Indiana and North Carolina, Brooks became considered one of the headliners in coach John Calipari’s No. 2-ranked 2019 recruiting class.
Johnny Juzang was also a component of that Kentucky recruiting class, and he wound up transferring to UCLA just a few months after arriving in Lexington.
Brooks went to La Lumiere School (IN), a perennially top-ranked highschool program that also produced UCLA point guard Tyger Campbell. Brooks and Campbell didn’t actually overlap at La Lumiere, though, as the previous only played there for his senior yr.
Once arriving at Kentucky, the 6-foot-7 Brooks became a bench piece for the Wildcats. Brooks averaged 4.5 points and three.2 rebounds per game his freshman yr, appearing in 31 games and starting in six while playing 15.1 minutes an evening.
Brooks took a step up within the rotation as a sophomore, despite missing all of nonconference play within the COVID-shortened season. Again picking up just a few starts along the best way, Brooks averaged 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game.
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This past yr is when Brooks finally ascended to full-time starter status – being a part of the starting five in all 33 of his appearances – and he averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for a Kentucky team that finished the regular season 26-7.
For his profession, Brooks is a 47.4% shooter from the sector and 74.9% shooter from the free throw line. Brooks shoots 23.4% from beyond the arc, but he has only averaged one 3-point attempt per game over the past three seasons.
Based on his statistical production and physical attributes, Brooks would project as a wing-forward for coach Mick Cronin – the position Jaime Jaquez Jr. has played the past few seasons.
Minutes could also be hard to come back by for any transfer who’s focused on the Bruins though. When Cronin talked to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times about next yr’s outlook, he reportedly laughed off the notion that a transfer would insert himself into the present wing rotation.
Jaquez is guaranteed considered one of the three starting wing spots, and the opposite two are projected to go to some combination of Jules Bernard, Jaylen Clark and McDonald’s All-American Amari Bailey. Bernard is currently within the NBA Draft Pool alongside Brooks, but after each of them were omitted for NBA Draft Mix invites following standout performances on the G League Elite Camp, they might each very likely return to the NCAA.
There are also bench pieces David Singleton and Will McClendon, who’s already back on the court following the surgery he underwent last fall to repair his torn ACL.
So with a full starting lineup, a sixth man and two role players already in-house on the wing, playing time and a concrete role could also be hard to vow a transfer of Brooks’ caliber who just began 30-plus games for a 26-win blue blood within the SEC.
Still, UCLA is keeping its eye on Brooks, who might be a serious contributor in a latest role if he were to make the move out to Westwood for next season.
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