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Keion Brooks Is Stepping Into That ‘Junior Year Role’ And His Stock Is Trending Upward

Keion Brooks seems to be having the best season of his career as a junior and the captain of this team, averaging over 11 points a game for Kentucky.

Last night, Keion Brooks finished with 17 points, his second highest performance of the season that he’s managed to do twice now, leading all scorers in a win to start off conference play.

The La Lumiere star from La Porte, Indiana, has now been at Kentucky for longer than most tend to stay under the helm of John Calipari, going through his third season in Lexington.

Finally finding a consistent role here as he’s become one of the starters, reporters asked John (Calipari) if he believes that he has finally found the right buttons to push to get Keion Brooks playing well here, and to lead him to hitting his potential.

The Head Coach answered, “What I've done is I'm holding him to a high standard that I think he's capable of reaching. But you got to fight, you got to play with spirit. When the ball doesn't go in, it can't affect the rest of your game. If it does, you're out and Jacob (Toppin) is in. But if (Brooks) plays, we're pretty good. And it's not -- you guys, he had nine rebounds. That team out rebounded everybody they played, and they played a tough schedule, by five, six rebounds a game, and he went in, and they weren't rebounds away from the goal. They were traffic rebounds, and he got them. Second thing he did is he ran the floor like the guys that are playing really well ran. Those guys run and they're ahead of the action. They're ready to play. He's now running. So my hope is it's really hard to play the way he played and it's physical and it's bruising. Do you say, "Let me try it that other way one more time because there has to be an easier way." There is none. Guys got to touch the fire couple times before they say I'm not touching the fire.”

John Calipari goes on to group Keion Brooks, Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware, saying, “Be competent. Be competent. Fight like heck, be competent, you're going to be confident. If you're not competent, it don't matter what the coach says. "Oh, you'll be alright. Next one will be good." Doesn't matter. You got to get in the gym and get better and get more consistent. And if something goes wrong you know what you say to yourself? "I've worked too hard. I expect to play well. I've spent too much time with the coaches." So I'm happy for him because, again, I want him to do well. I can't do it for him. I can't fight for him. I can't sprint for him, but I can hold him accountable to those things.”

Through 11 games that he’s been available in, Brooks has tallied in 126 points, 52 rebounds, 9 blocks, 4 assists and 4 turnovers, while shooting 48% from the field.

I can admit, I wasn’t as high on Keion as everyone else was coming into the season, partially due to the talent we had coming in, but I will be the first to admit he’s impressed me in what he’s been able to do this season, kind of on par to what junior years look like at Kentucky within the last decade… so in reality, it actually does make sense.



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