Senior shooting guard Douglas Brooks had a breakout performance on Wednesday at City of Palms.
It sure didn’t seem like the team that beat nationally ranked Oak Hill (Va.) earlier this month had much interest in its City of Palms opener. After Paul VI rallied in the final quarter, Lake Wales senior shooting guard Douglas Brooks crushed Paul VI's hopes of winning a championship here.
Who’s Douglas Brooks? And why haven’t you heard of him?
If you recall from last spring, Brooks was the high-energy shooter from the Each1Teach1 AAU squad. Against Paul VI he played with unceasing energy, hawking the ball and generating six steals. His 3-pointers were daggers. And down the stretch he iced it with free throws.
“He’s got that heart,” Lake Wales assistant coach Burney Hayes said. “He’s cold-blooded. Game on the line, he wants the basketball.”
Brooks, according to Hayes, typically shoots at a 40 percent clip behind the arc. He’s tailor made for an attacking style with a defensive tilt. A straight-line driver, Brooks doesn’t mind putting pressure on the ball and his own man on offense. If he plays as consistently hard as he did Wednesday night, he’ll be a spring option for a number of programs. For Douglas, playing hard was a trait he learned as a freshman.
“When I got [to Lake Wales] the team played hard,” Brooks said. “I remember us being down 21 to Winter Haven and we came back to win. I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
The next step is buckling down in the classroom. Brooks said during a deep run his sophomore year, he got fatigued and it showed up in his grades. But he proudly self-reported a position on the honor roll this year. He has to stay the course academically if he’s going to sign in the spring.
The contenders include Auburn, VCU, Arkansas and Georgia Southern. Central Florida stayed in the gym long enough tonight for Brooks to notice.
The kid with pride, energy and shot-making ability will have choices. In speaking with him, you get the sense Brooks knows to a degree of certainty what he is and what level and style will fit him best. He’s a guy you have to look into come springtime.
And when you pull out the available guards list, he’ll be the one on the rise.