Saturday morning I was assigned to cover Ziosnville’s first regional game in 23 years. 2019 Purdue commit Isaiah Thompson had 26 points and broke Brad Stevens’ school record with a full year to go, but the Eagles bowed out 55-51 to Fort Wayne North, who played in last year’s state title game.
The Legends are led by Keion Brooks, who is the top rated player in the 2019 class in Indiana, and he is 22nd nationally. It was the first time I had a chance to see him play in person, and he was impressive. He only had 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but he showcased some insane athleticism and showed why Matt Painter has been after him for a while.
For most of the game Zionsville kept him in check. he had only 4 first half points, two on a pair of free throws and two on a steal that led to an impressive one-handed dunk on the break. The 6’7” forward was impressive on the glass though. He showed an ability to simply out-jump everyone and sky for rebounds or blocks.
Down the stretch he dominated offensively. He hit a step abck 25-foot three-pointer late in the third quarter that cut the lead to 40-39. He then scored the first 4 points of the fourth quarter to give them the lead.
With the game tied 47-47 with 1:36 left he went baseline, threw down a wicked 2-handed dunk in traffic, and fouled out Zionsville’s best post defender in the process. He calmly hit the free throw to go up 50-47 and Zionsville was never able to tie or take the lead again.
Here is what Zionsville coach Shaun Busick had to say about him:
“Brooks played with a lot of composure. He showed why he is a big time recruit. He didn’t force things and only took what the defense gave him. That’s the sign of a great player. It would not surprise me if he is playing in the NBA in a few years. We didn’t want him to get anything easy. We wanted him to earn it. If you had told me we were going to hold him to 14 I would have thought we would win. It is a credit to him because he didn’t force shots. He played within the flow of the game and I told him afterward I would be proud of your effort if I was your coach.”
Brooks is ridiciulously athletic and poised. He has range on his shot but is not afraid to go down low for rebounds. He is an all around excellent player and would instantly be one of Purdue’s most versatile and athletic players if we got him. I would have to say he is a more explosive Vince Edwards.
He was also a strong defender. With 20 seconds left Zionsville was down 54-51 and needed a tying three. He came out to defend the smaller Thompson and caused a turnover before he could get the shot off.
So can we get him? hard to say. Michigan State is probably in the lead and Tom Izzo was in the building today. Indiana is also going hard after him. If Painter can get him it would be a coup, but an impressive coup.
If you want to watch the game here you go:
And here is a link to his stream for tonight’s championship vs. Carmel.