LEXINGTON – If Keion Brooks returns to college basketball next season, it might not be at Kentucky.
The Wildcats junior forward, who started 33 games last season, has placed his name in the transfer portal, according to multiple reports. Brooks has also declared for the NBA draft but is maintaining his college eligibility.
Brooks is not projected to be selected in the two-round draft in June. He averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana native has endured an unprecedented Kentucky career.
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward served as a role player as a freshman on a team that won the Southeastern Conference regular season title but saw its season end early with the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. He missed the first six games of his sophomore season with a leg injury. By the time he returned to the court Kentucky was well on its way to an abysmal 9-16 record.
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Brooks moved into the starting lineup on a full-time basis for the first time as a junior but continued to battle the inconsistency that has characterized most of his career. He was at his best in Kentucky’s marquee win of the season with 27 points and eight rebounds in the blowout of Kansas in Lawrence.
That performance was the second game in a stretch of five consecutive double-digit scoring games. Brooks’ form dipped again down the stretch as he failed to reach double digits in three of the final four games.
After the season-ending loss to Saint Peter’s, Brooks offered what could have been perceived as a goodbye to Kentucky.
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“I love and enjoy being around the staff, having really good and great times,” Brooks said. “My tenure here has been a little funky and difficult, a little different, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Coming here, I’ve learned a lot beyond being a basketball player, but Coach Cal has done a great job of shaping me into a better man and that being said, I don’t regret anything that I’ve been through as long as I’ve been here. “
Brooks was the subject of frequent transfer rumors a year ago but eventually dismissed that chatter after returning to Kentucky without ever making a formal announcement about his plans.
Email Jon Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter OnJonHale_CJ.