Source: USC transfer J'Raan Brooks has committed to Washington.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 7, 2019
In a move that makes sense on a lot of levels, it appears that USC’s J’Raan Brooks is transferring to the University of Washington (the report is so far unconfirmed by Brooks or the UW but Rothstein is known as one of the most well sourced and reliable reporters in the college basketball media). The 6’9, 220 pound forward averaged 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in just over 8 minutes per game for last season’s underachieving Trojan squad as a true freshman. He was the 83rd ranked player in the class of 2018 per the 247 Sports composite rankings.
EDIT 6/13/19: The UW has officially announced the transfer.
Brooks has obvious connections to the UW as he played his high school ball at local Garfield High and it was speculated that he was a heavy favorite to end up at Washington before the dismissal of Lorenzo Romar. He never appeared to give Coach Hop and the Huskies much of a look in the summer before committing to USC. The commitment stung but made sense given his lack of familiarity with Hopkins, the program coming off a disappointing season, and that Brooks lived in Southern California before his family moved to Seattle.
Brooks re-opened his recruitment though after USC assistant Tony Bland was arrested in the FBI probe. He took an unofficial visit to Washington and retweeted dozens of “Hometown Hero!” type twitter posts from UW fans but never seemed serious about sticking around Seattle. Brooks committed to St. John’s on an unofficial visit in December of his senior year but later also backed out from that pledge before finally re-committing to USC. Brooks couldn’t quite break through the USC rotation as a freshman with senior Bennie Boatwright playing his preferred role. The team chemistry clearly also left something to be desired as Brooks was one of four non-seniors to leave the program in the offseason.
The Pac-12 got rid of a rule this offseason which in the past would have required Brooks to lose an additional year of eligibility on top of his normal redshirt transfer season. That is no longer a concern and helped facilitate the move to Washington. Brooks could apply for a waiver to be made eligible immediately but as of the moment there’s no publicly known information that would suggest such a waiver would be granted.
The Huskies had one scholarship remaining after wrapping up their 2019 recruiting class and it seems like Brooks will occupy that spot. Although we’ll see what the school announces in the coming days. He helps add some longer term depth to the roster with the expectation that both Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart will be one-and-done players. Pending the recruiting class of 2020, the Huskies will have senior Hameir Wright and redshirt sophomores Bryan Penn-Johnson/Nate Roberts/Riley Sorn as fellow big men when Brooks becomes eligible in a year.
Brooks is a physical forward who has the ability on offense to make a midrange jumper or stretch out to the 3-pt range. He shot 35.3% from beyond the arc last season on 17 attempts. He should be able to step in as a hybrid forward that is big enough to provide a rebounding presence playing the corner of the zone but is also versatile to fill the 3 position on offense if necessary.
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