By Andrew Kahn
Having grown up in Mississauga, Ontario, and wanting more competition and exposure, Dillon Brooks planned to spend his final two high school years playing for basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada. Last season, as a junior, he was just fifth on the team in scoring behind highly-rated seniors like Kelly Oubre (now at Kansas) and Rashad Vaughn (UNLV). Brooks’ recruiting stock skyrocketed this past summer after he was the leading scorer at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament (25 points per game, including 27 in a loss to the United States in the championship). The increased interest from schools led Brooks to reclassify from the 2015 class to 2014 and commit to Oregon. He’s averaging 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and two assists as a starter for the 16-7 Ducks, who are tied for third in the Pac-12.READ MORE: Parental Consent Not Needed For Teen COVID Shots Under Proposed State Law
“We’d hoped he’d give us a big boost offensively and he’s done some really good things,” Oregon coach Dana Altman says. “He scores around the basket, he hits jumpers, he puts the ball on the floor and makes plays for teammates. We’re very pleased with his progress. There’s a lot more there. We’re excited about what the future holds for him.”
The school lists Brooks at 6’6, 225 pounds, and his size and strength have allowed him to play all over the court. He showed off his versatility in a close win against Washington on Wednesday night. Bill Walton, providing commentary for the telecast, applauded Brooks for playing strong inside as part of Oregon’s undersized lineup. In the first half, he snagged an offensive rebound in traffic, pivoted with the ball held high, and found an open teammate for a three-pointer. Late in the second half he scored a key bucket on another offensive board, sprinting from the corner as soon as the shot went up and getting in position to grab the ball. He finished tied for a game high with eight rebounds.READ MORE: Gusty Winds Whip Through San Francisco Bay Area Hills
Brooks showed up his shooting touch against Washington as well, though he was inconsistent offensively. A few times he drove only to get bodied off a direct path to the hoop, causing a miss. As strong and skilled as he is, he’s still improving his body control with the ball in his hands. Still, it’s nice when a player can grab a rebound and start the fast break himself.
Altman says Brooks is a hard worker whose defense is “coming along.” For what it’s worth, Brooks was not on the floor with 16 seconds left on Wednesday, when Washington had the ball out of a timeout down two points.
Brooks has done a good job getting to the free throw line, where he’s hitting at 83 percent. He’s in the top 20 in the Pac-12 in scoring, behind only Stanley Johnson and Kevon Looney among freshman. Just like former Michigan star Nik Stauskas, now with the Sacramento Kings, Brooks went from Mississauga to a big-time American prep school to Division I. It’s too early to talk NBA, but as Walton said during Wednesday’s game, “Dillon is a rising star in this conference. He’s hugely talented.”MORE NEWS: Big Rig Driver Arrested After Santa Cruz Hit-And-Run; Highway 1 Pursuit
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.