1. In his first game back, Keion Brooks has proven to be a capable scorer for Kentucky
After missing Kentucky’s first nine games, sophomore Keion Brooks Jr. provided 24 minutes of play in his first showdown game. And – in his first game since March 7th, which also came against Florida – Brooks was huge in his return, pouring in 12 points off the bench on a perfect 6-6 clip on two-pointers.
Brooks also stuffed the stat sheet in other ways, hauling down a team-best six rebounds and dishing out a team-best four assists – while also recording one block and one steal. This is obviously huge for Brooks, who averaged just 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds last year in 31 games, starting in six of them.
On its own, the return of Brooks was obviously crucial for Kentucky against the Gators – and his boost off the bench may very well have been what the Wildcats needed to win this game. But it also, obviously, benefits the team long-term – especially with some of Kentucky’s star freshmen not necessarily panning out as expected.
Brooks has proven before that he can score against marquee talent. Last season, he recorded double-digits on five occasions – including against Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Florida – which were all wins for the Wildcats. However, he also struggled mightily at times, going 13-straight games from January 21st to March 3rd where he recorded single-digits – with four scoreless games, and eight others tallying just between 2-4 points.
With Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, and Terrence Clarke all struggling, Brooks should find himself in the rotation with ease – and, if he is able to follow up on his stellar showing against Florida, could ultimately find himself starting. His 12-point, 6-rebound, 4-assist display against the Gators bodes well for him moving forward – and it might just ultimately be the new scoring edge the Wildcats need heading into the bulk of SEC play.