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Keion Brooks Jr. Announces Return to UW

Washington men’s basketball gets a dose of much needed good news

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Washington at USC Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Washington received some much needed good news today when forward Keion Brooks Jr. announced that he will return to the Huskies for his final year of eligibility (in a video voiced by and featuring Brandon Roy).

Brooks transferred in to Washington after 3 seasons at Kentucky where he never completely broke out. With the Huskies Brooks was able to be the featured player on offense and averaged career highs of 17.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Those numbers helped Brooks get named 2nd team all-Pac-12 squad.

Before ultimately deciding to transfer to Washington it was clear that Brooks had first considered whether he should declare for the NBA draft. He received the feedback that he was unlikely to get drafted and ended up somewhere that he could show off a larger variety of his skills. Brooks hit a career high percentage from the 3-point line but still couldn’t crack the 30% barrier at 28.7%. However Brooks has shown that he is extremely solid from the free throw line finishing between 78.3% and 79.5% each of the past 3 seasons.

With increased ball handling responsibilities came a lot more turnovers. Brooks committed a career high 3.1 giveaways per game and that particularly popped up at the end of the year when he had either 4 or 5 in each of Washington’s last 3 regular season games.

In the end it appears that Brooks is aware that he still wasn’t able to do enough to thrust himself onto an NBA draft board and so coming back to school for another year was his best option. Early talks are that the 2024 NBA Draft is projected to be one of the weakest in recent years and waiting for that chance makes sense.

Washington already has lost wings Cole Bajema and Tyler Linhardt to the transfer portal plus Langston Wilson who could’ve played the 4 even though he was mostly used at center by UW. Plus starting wing Jamal Bey graduated. That left a glaring hole hole at the wing on the Husky roster with the only other options being Samuel Ariyibi who missed all of last season due to injury and incoming true freshman Christian King. The Huskies helped solidify that spot by bringing in Portland transfer Moses Wood but they still badly needed Brooks to return.

With Brooks’ return it appears the Huskies are mostly set in the frontcourt. It would be nice to see if they could add one more center option in case Franck Kepnang isn’t ready right away coming off his ACL tear or a new injury pops up. But a combo of Wood/Brooks at the 3 and 4 spot plus a Meah/Kepnang center duo is a legitimate top end of the Pac-12 forward and center grouping. And if Ariyibi or King can contribute, it’s a bonus. The problem of course is that the only other 2 players currently slated to be on the roster are Koren Johnson and Wesley Yates so at least 2 more guards are needed from the portal.

Washington now has 4 scholarships available and we will wait to see who else the coaching staff can bring in, particularly at the guard spot, for a make and break season.