Auburn basketball has one more scholarship for the 2022-23 season, but that doesn’t mean they will use it.
It definitely shouldn’t mean that Bruce Pearl should see both Julian Phillips’ Tennessee commitment and Keion Brooks’ recent NBA Draft withdrawal as signs that the Tigers need to have one more impact addition.
Auburn basketball should stay away from Kentucky transfer Keion Brooks
As previously stated, Pearl and co. have the means to take to the transfer portal one more time this offseason after landing Morehead State big man Johni Broome. Pearl was non-committal about whether those means will be exhausted, though:
"“I have that scholarship available to us if we don’t sign another player in this recruiting period, and I don’t know whether we will or not…I like our roster. I think I’ve got — I kind of feel a little bit like Noah. Since I just came back from Israel, let’s just go with Noah as a comparison: I’ve got two of everything. I’ve got at least two of every position and a little bit more depth at guard.”"
Adding someone like Brooks wouldn’t be Pearl’s style as the Auburn basketball HC pointed out:
"“I’m not a ‘bring in the 13 best guys we can find and let the best man win’ guy. That’s never been how I’ve been. There are other coaches in our league who are that way. It doesn’t make them wrong. I’ve just never done it that way.”"
Brooks was a fine glue-guy for Kentucky in 2021-22, but it shouldn’t be lost on anyone how far, or rather, embarrassingly not far, the Wildcats went in March Madness. St. Peters, a small school with a spread out campus in Jersey City with a budget of less than $250,000, hung 45 on John Calipari’s East Region No. 2 seed. Brooks shot 2/7 overall in 29 minutes during that loss.
Throughout the season, Brooks’ lack of floor-spacing (23% from the 3-point line in .2 attempts per game) held the Wildcats back to a degree. Replacing Devan Cambridge with the Fort Wayne, Indiana product doesn’t do much to move the needle forward.
Considering Brooks has stated that he doesn’t even want to return to school, only doing so after essentially having his hand forced from NBA Draft scouts advising him to, the fit on the Plains just isn’t there.