Setting The Record Straight About Keion Brooks

There has been some discussion this past week in regards to what happened last weekend with Fort Wayne North star player Keion Brooks, Jr., the 6’9” nationally ranked small forward. Brooks was absent from last Saturday’s game, a 71-57 North victory at Elkhart Central.  This started speculation about his whereabouts and what led to him and his assistant coach Dad (Keion Brooks, Sr.) missing Saturday’s game.  Brooks has practiced this week, but Prep Ball Stars caught up with Brooks, Sr. and he shared with us what led to the event and the aftermath.


Prep Ball Stars (PBS): So, what happened that led to both you and Keion not traveling with the team?


Brooks, Sr.: Well, we played Homestead Friday night, didn’t play well and ended up losing. It was a tough loss and our 4th of the season.  After the game in the locker room, Keion stood up in front of the team and took ownership for the loss.  He told them that he didn’t play well and that he would be even better the rest of the way.  I felt that was growth for him because having played myself, it takes some courage to stand in front of the team and say that.  But that’s what you want your team leader to do.  Coach Shabaz (head coach Muhammad Shabaz Khaliq) we felt didn’t really give him support in that moment and kind of wrote it off.  Keion didn’t speak up about it then, but later that night, he texted his coach and asked if there was anything he wanted him to do to get better to help the team.  I didn’t even know he had texted the coach until the next morning when Keion informed me that the coach didn’t respond.  We were disappointed, especially given the reaction to him talking to the team the night before.  We had a game that day (Saturday) so once we got back to the school, we met with coach in his office.  Keion asked why he hadn’t responded to the text.  The coach indicated that he “wasn’t obligated” to text back to him.  Obviously, this was not the response we were expecting.  Star player or not, we felt some type of response was in order to ANY player.  As we tried to share with him the frustration with the lack of communication and support, we were told by the coach that we should “just go”!  At this point, Keion is upset.  I am upset.  Who wouldn’t be?  He wants to stay and play with his teammates, and I wanted to stay and help the team as an assistant.  The coach asked us twice to leave.  It was not the best situation so we just left at that point.


PBS: Where did the story come from and so quickly with Keion leaving for Prep School, etc?


Brooks, Sr.: We don’t really know. We know it’s not true.  It was never about a prep school or a coaching issue between coach Shabazz and I.  He is the head coach.  I understand that.  I go to work (outside of basketball) for a boss every day.  This had nothing to do with X’s and O’s.  This was about respect for my son.  We have 5 games left in the season so we weren’t looking to leave.  But we were asked to leave so we left.


PBS: Where are things at now since this incident?


Brooks, Sr.: Keion is back at practice. At the end of the day, sometimes families fight and there are disagreements or misunderstandings. We all talked on Monday, and Keion has been back at practice all week and ready to go.  There has been a lot of support from various people.  Fort Wayne School Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson reached out and the school Principal David West also has been great.  We are thankful for that.  Fort Wayne is home for us.


PBS: Have you learned anything from this?


Brooks, Sr.: News can travel fast even if it isn’t true. But we are thankful we are in this position.  I just want Keion to have fun with his teammates and continue to grow as a basketball player and person.  The outside noise will always be there and you can’t control all of it.  It’s best to stay ahead of it and enjoy the ride.


Fort Wayne North travels to Fort Wayne Concordia tonight and has games left with Logansport, Carroll, Fort Wayne Dwenger and Fort Wayne Luers before starting sectional play. They are currently ranked #12 in the AP poll.  Brooks, Jr. is ranked #16 in the nation by 247 Sports and #30 by ESPN.  He was one of the top players on the Nike EYBL playing up a grade level last spring/summer for Spiece Indy Heat.  He has offers to Kentucky, Indiana, Purdue, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan State, Ohio State and Missouri, to name a few.

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