Just when everyone thought Shaka Smart was done with the class of 2013, the staff received a commitment from 6’3, 165-pound guard Doug Brooks out of Lake Wales, Florida (hometown of 6-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire). Brooks was in Richmond on his official visit this past weekend and decided to commit to VCU today.
Brooks is a consensus 3-star guard on ESPN, Rivals, and Scout. ESPN Director of Scouting Dave Telep lists him #10 on the ‘top 10 under the radar seasons’ nationally at any level with ‘basketball IQ, defensive intensity and a legit 3-point shot’. Brooks was the only player not in the 2013 or 2014 ESPN100 on the list. ESPN rates him as the #11 player in the state of Florida with 3 stars and a 76 grade. Telep also mentioned that he would ‘rocket up the best available charts’ if he was able to qualify this year. Eric Bossi of Rivals.com calls him ‘one of the premiere shooters in Florida’ with ‘competitive spirit and non-stop motor‘.
In the end his recruitment came down to VCU, South Carolina, South Florida, and Illinois State. Other programs that offered or have been following him over the past season include Central Florida, Auburn, and Arkansas.
Doug’s recruitment process with VCU goes back to last spring. Coach Smart offered the high-energy shooter from Each1Teach1 AAU in early May of 2012, not long after Brooks helped his Lake Wales high school team to the Florida Class 5A state championship over Terry Parker H.S. and Solomon Poole (2012 Top 100 player who went to Georgia Tech). VCU’s coaching staff has been following him ever since, and it’s easy to see why.
Brooks is a dream from a VCU style of play standpoint. Lake Wales plays a very similar style with pressing and tough-nosed half court man-to-man with trapping. He’s a very high energy guard who shoots the ball well and has great anticipation skills resulting in numerous deflections. He is capable of defending an opposing team’s primary ball-handler and has quick feet, impressive lateral quickness, and active hands. He does not give up on plays and will fit in well in Shaka Smart’s HAVOC defense.
(Brooks is #3 in black. Game starts at the 50 minute mark)
He also received early mid-major offers from Sweet 16 darling Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Southern, Boston University, Jacksonville, and Florida Atlantic in the spring of 2012. Brooks had some issues his sophomore year in the classroom after a deep run to the 5A title game affected his studies, which gave doubts to many recruiters about his ability to qualify, but Smart stuck with him. This year Brooks honored Smart’s patience by ending up on the honor roll and working very hard to be able to qualify this spring as a late signee.
The highlight of Doug’s season this year was beating a Paul VI team out of Washington D.C. that was ranked #17 in the USA Today Super 25 at the prestigious City of Palms Tournament in December. Paul VI had beaten Oak Hill earlier this season but Brooks led Lake Wales with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals in a big victory.
He followed that up with a nice game against Chester (Pa.) and Arizona-commit Rondae Jefferson. Brooks scored a tournament-high 32 points (11-22 FG, 8-16 from 3) and ripped 5 steals in a loss.
For the tournament he averaged 23 ppg, 5.3 spg, and hit a tournament-high 15 3-pointers over the 3 games. His scoring average was also the highest of any player in the 16-team tournament. HoopScoop’s Clark Francis described him as an ‘ incredibly athletic multi-dimensional wing who plays above the rim, has great body control, and also provided the powerful punch that his team needed’ after watching his performance. Other analysts praised him for his deep 3-point range and being a ball-hawk on defense with his ability to get his hands on loose balls. Lake Wales finished 22-8 this season.
Brooks joins a stout 2013 class that is loaded in the back court with consensus 3-star guards JeQuan Lewis and Jairus Lyles as well as 6’9, 240-pound Antravious Simmons in the post. Joining them will be consensus 4-star Jordan Burgess and Mo Ali-Cox from the 2012 class who will suit up after being ruled ineligible for the 2012-2013 season. Brooks will help upgrade the talent at the guard position and provide some much-needed outside shooting with the graduation of Troy Daniels.
Welcome to Ram Nation Douglas Brooks!