Calipari: Brooks has what it takes to be ‘special’ player next season

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By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Keion Brooks Jr. is staying put and will return for a second season.

The University of Kentucky forward announced on Tuesday night that he would be in a Wildcats’ uniform next year.

“Let’s run it back, BBN,” Brooks tweeted Tuesday night.

Earlier the week, teammates Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey declared for the NBA Draft and both have opted to forgo the remainder of their collegiate careers, but Brooks decided to return to campus.

“Keion improved as much as anyone on our team,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “This season was great for him. He learned about himself, he learned about the game and he learned about what it takes to be special. And let me say this: I truly believe Keion Brooks is going to be special.”

Brooks played in 31 games and started six times. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per outing. Brooks shot 47.2 percent from the floor and Calipari called him “one of the greatest kids we’ve had.”

“He’s got a caring heart, but on that court he has a competitive spirit with skills, length and athleticism that set him apart,” Calipari said. “He can play multiple positions on offense and defense because of that length and athleticism. I’m so excited to get another year to watch his growth and to be with him throughout the season.”

Calipari went with Brooks down the stretch on a 71-70 win at Florida. Brooks drew a double team, allowing EJ Montgomery to put in a missed jumper for the eventual game-winner. He scored 15 points in a win over Fairleigh Dickinson and had 10 points and eight rebounds in a victory over Eastern Kentucky.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.