With everything going on lately, there’s still been some things happening in the world of sports, particularly in college basketball. Many players across the country have made their decision to enter the NBA Draft, and also there are still some (Cole Anthony) decisions that are still pending. One name that maybe not enough thought about when it came to what could or could not happen when thinking about the NBA is Garrison Brooks, though he decided to take it upon himself to let everyone know that he would be returning to UNC for his senior season.
News & Observer’s John Alexander reported Friday that after giving it some thought, Brooks would ultimately decide to graduate in 2021 rather than pursue a professional basketball career at this time. This decision was announced to Alexander by Brooks’ mother and step-father. A couple of weeks before the decision, Garrison Brooks was being interviewed on Instagram live, with the interviewer eventually asking him about the draft. Brooks gave an answer involving a movie reference, but no answer was given that pointed in either direction.
The most fascinating thing about Brooks’ decision was how quiet everything had been in regards to whether or not the NBA was something that he was seriously considering. Perhaps it’s because when the 2019-20 season concluded for the Tar Heels, the ACC Tournament and eventually the NCAA as a whole came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak. When it came to some of the less obvious decisions were pending, it almost feels like there was a smokescreen placed in front of the truth, which is that Garrison Brooks could have went into the NBA Draft. That sounds like a trivial statement, but what’s not as obvious is the fact that he does indeed possess some skills coming out of his junior year that could potentially give him a sustainable NBA career.
Brooks finished his junior year averaging 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. His scoring average was the second-highest on the team behind likely NBA Draft prospect Cole Anthony. His scoring production was also a major leap from his 7.9 ppg average his sophomore season, mostly thanks to added minutes and an increased importance on feeding the ball into the paint after Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson, Coby White, and Nassir Little all left for the NBA. However, what’s sneaky about his production this season is the fact that paint touches weren’t the only source of him scoring.
Last offseason, Garrison Brooks put a lot of work in on his jumper. He’s always had a decent mid-range shot, but his junior year we saw it taken to a level that made it hard for teams to deal with. How difficult did it get? Try him adding a couple of three-pointers onto his stats sheet just for good measure. Brooks’ jumper may not yet be his deadliest weapon right now, but having another summer/college basketball season (hopefully) to fine-tune his shot could go a long way in improving his draft stock. He does so many things well already, that this is an area where I feel like he could be very tempting for a NBA team looking for someone in the second round that can stifle players on defense, and bring an extra punch to the team on offense.
Brooks’ decision to return to Chapel Hill was huge for many reasons, despite the fact that this situation definitely flew under the radar with many of us. We can now officially say that Roy Williams will have his ridiculously deep frontcourt should the 2020-21 season transpire, and this is in addition to a frontcourt that also shows a lot of potential thanks to Caleb Love and RJ Davis making their way to campus. Let’s hope we can give the coronavirus some the NC State treatment so that we can get things back to normal, because my wounds from the 2019-20 season have mostly healed, and God am I ready for more basketball.