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Keion Brooks on his confidence-building performance at Arkansas

Keion Brooks played arguably his best game of the season at Arkansas, finishing with ten points, seven rebounds, a block, and a steal in 17 minutes. For the first time in almost a month, Brooks didn’t start, but was an integral part of Kentucky’s second half surge, scoring five points in the final 2:44 to help the Cats hold off the Hogs.

After John Calipari was ejected at the 8:19 mark, Associate Head Coach Kenny Payne kept Brooks in for the rest of the game in hopes it would encourage the freshman to swim, not sink. It worked.

“The whole time I’m telling Keion, ‘You have to grow up today. So I’m not taking you out. I need to know that you can get through this. I need to know that—you’re taking a test. How are you going to do on this test?’ He passed. I’m so proud of him because he’s had a hard road. The pressure that he’s been under to perform is a lot. The game is coming fast. He stood up and he came through for us. Really big. Big day for him today.”

“It was real quick and short in the huddle during the timeout,” Brooks said of the conversation with Payne. “He just said he’s going to let me play through some mistakes, make me grow up, being out there in a tough environment on the road, playing against a good team, Arkansas, with Coach Cal gone. He was just letting me know, we’re going to ride with you no matter what happens and you’re going to learn from whatever happens on the floor. Gratefully, I did some good things.”

The last time Brooks scored in double figures was the win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 14. Today, he admitted to reporters that he’s struggled over the past month, but knows his game is slowly evolving.

“Yeah, I’ve just been relying on my training, my work ethic, the faith I have in God to push me through everything I’m going through. It’s not always easy, but I know I’m going to push through it and fight through it. So, the game has been coming a little bit easier to me. I’ve just got to keep getting better and keep progressing.”

After Saturday’s performance, Brooks said he’s already feeling more confident.

“Yeah, it did. Especially my teammates continuing to believe in me to get things done. My teammates and coaching staff, their faith in me has never waned or faltered throughout this whole process, even when I was struggling. Just, for them to keep believing in me, and I finally have a good game out of it, it feels good.”


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

8 Comments for Keion Brooks on his confidence-building performance at Arkansas

  1. KentuckyRob
    4:53 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

    Watching that video I can see the confidence building in the kid. We may all look back at the Arkansas game and say that is where Keion broke through. I’m not saying he’ arrived but I do think we’ll see a more confident and more aggressive Keion going forward.

  2. JASUN74
    5:14 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

    I love How hard he plays and he gives 100% on both ends all game long. It’s just a matter of time for him and he’s really close to breaking out a big game. Keep it up young man.

  3. CrystalBall
    5:16 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

    He reminds me a little of Alex Poythress. And I think before tourney time Keion will be tremendous.

  4. nocode96
    5:39 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

    Great example of why we shouldn’t ridicule our guys when they don’t immediately pan out and live up to our foolish fandom expectations. There were people on this very site saying Brooks should never play again, and that he was “useless” as one super genius around here so eloquently put it. These kids are here for a reason. They’re good enough to wear that jersey, and they’re good enough to make a hof coach get them on our team. Never give up on these kids, they can’t all be Wall or AD. I’m proud of Brooks, and I can’t wait to see him grow into his potential. Same goes for EJ, Whitney, and Juzang…happy to have every last one of them and I know each will come into their own.

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:10 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

      Hell yeah, well said. I love this team and I love the coaching staff. As I’ve said before, I sometimes get frustrated but airing a bunch of negative comments online serves no purpose other than for the commenter act like they’re smarter than everyone else.

    • dcforuk
      7:02 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

      Nothing is impossible for fans that don’t have to do it whether it is in reference to running, passing, shooting, dribbling, defending, fast-breaking or any other “deciding!”

  5. JASUN74
    6:57 pm January 20, 2020 Permalink

    Yes Sir Nocode. 100% brother.

  6. The Big Lebowski
    6:55 am January 21, 2020 Permalink

    Good training!

    Brooks will be good. Time and confidence.

    GET SOME!!!