Welcome aboard Pierre!
Detroit, Michigan native, Pierre Brooks, a 4.0 student, who attends the Douglass Academy, committed to Michigan State on Wednesday. This is the second of Tom Izzo’s 2021 offers to commit to a school recently, as Luke Goode, another top-100 wing that Izzo had offered (whose game and appearance will remind Spartans of Russell Byrd before his injuries), committed to Brad Underwood and Illinois last week.
Brooks, a four-star prospect, is rated as a top-100 recruit (96 in the 247 composite rankings, and 83 in 247’s rankings), projects as an exciting three-to-four year player for Tom Izzo. Standing at about 6’5”-6’6” and weighing about 190 lbs (he is listed at 180, but I find that figure hard to believe from what I have seen), Brooks is a solidly-built, powerful guard in the mold of a Kelvin Torbert (though Torbert was even more powerful, a better athlete, and more highly rated recruit at this stage in his career).
He had additional offers from Michigan, Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Missouri, Kansas State, Xavier, Butler and many others. Brooks is listed as the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan by 247Sports’ individual rankings, as well as the No. 18 shooting guard in the nation. Additionally, he is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state and No. 21 two-guard in the 2021 class by the composite rankings. The Detroit product was initially offered by Michigan State last August.
Brooks appears to have at least a +3-4 wingspan (maybe more), which helps make up for his good-but-not-great explosion and leaping ability. He is confident handling the ball in the open court, a very adept and willing passer, he has excellent positional height that, when combined with his long arms, allows him to see over and make plays over most high school defenders. Continuing to improve his explosion and strength will be a priority once he gets to East Lansing, but he has the frame and body-type ideally suited to becoming a dynamic force at Michigan State.
Brooks has a solid shooting stroke, with confidence, touch, nice rotation, and very deep range. He will need to keep refining his mechanics, as all young players must, but the only real issues I see right now are his generally lower release point, his lack of elevation on his jumper, his occassional failure to hold his follow-through, and a fairly-frequent side-ways flare on his hand-finish; none of which are necessarily fatal or even major issues, but all of which will likely be tweaked. In addition to being a confident jump-shooter, particularly off the dribble, Brooks is also a confident finisher at the rim in the open-court often through traffic. He appears to be a solid rebounder and defender where he plays passing lanes with his long arms and anticipation, and gets up for blocks fairly often; he projects as at least a two-position defender, with potential to cover one-through-four.
Brooks is definitely a wing in Izzo’s system, and has the chance to be a solid passer and secondary play-maker along the lines of Aaron Henry (though Henry played more point-forward in high school), though I see him as more of a natural scorer than Henry.
As you can see in these highlights, Brooks plays under-control, has great confidence, and clearly feels sure of himself as a scorer from all-three levels (he also never misses!). With some work in the weight-room, and after he gets comfortable in Izzo’s system Brooks may be a bit of a terror. Interestingly, especially if Henry and Brown stay for their senior years, Brooks offers something a bit different from Michigan State’s wings for the past few years: a return to power and physical play. Though he is not the same caliber of athlete that Miles Bridges is, he will bring a similar kind of toughness and willingness to seek contact (although Bridges never got to the line quite enough). In fact, Brooks, may end up with a better career free throw rate than Miles Bridges ever achieved.
In the final highlight, above, you will notice Brooks matched up against Jaden Akins, another Michigan State recruit with an offer from Tom Izzo and the staff. In what will likely be a battle for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball, both players put on scoring and play-making exhibitions. I am very excited about the prospect of Akins and Brooks possibly pairing up in green and white, and Izzo and the staff will surely push hard to make that pairing a reality; as the lefty point guard has size, shake, shooting, and play-making for days and would work wonderfully with the rest of the Michigan State players already on the roster.
Looking ahead - roster outlook:
With Brooks in the fold, and assuming only Hauser and Henry as early departures, here is how the Michigan State depth chart will likely appear for the 2021-22 season...
1 - Hoggard (so), Loyer (sr)
2 - Watts (jr), Brooks (fr)
3 - Brown (sr)
4 - Hall (jr), Kithier (sr), Marble (jr)
5 - Sissoko (so), Bingham jr (sr)
In this scenario, Michigan State would still have three open scholarships, and potentially more (or fewer) due to attrition and early-entry decisions that Henry and Hauser, at least, will face after next season. Currently, Izzo and the staff only have four outstanding offers: the aforementioned point-guard, Jaden Akins (one of my favorite players in the class), Kobe Bufkin (a wing from GR Christian), top-15 wing Max Christie (stud player, reminiscent of Chris Hill between the ears, a Chicago kid that Duke is recruiting hard), and Charles Bediako (a tall, long, Canadian big, whose game I am not very familiar with). The looming possibility, of course, is the potential reclassification of Emoni Bates, whom Izzo offered years ago.
I would imagine that Izzo will push hard for Akins, the only point-guard that he is currently recruiting, and for at least one more wing - Bates, surely, if he reclassifies to play a year in college would be #1 on Izzo’s wish list, with Christie (who may not actually be a one-and-done player) close behind. Mo will have a deeper look at the ‘21 basketball recruiting class in the coming days, so be on the look-out for that piece.
At this point, Brooks’ fit is clear: with Henry likely to leave after next season, Izzo needed another big, long, versatile wing with great defensive potential, and Brooks fits that need perfectly. This class, and the 2021-22 season has the potential to be very special. It is yet another great day to be a Spartan.