Davidson basketball has built a very strong tradition over the past 25 seasons under Coach Bob McKillop. The team has made 7 NCAA Tournament appearances during that time, including a run to the Elite 8 in 2008 with Stephan Curry leading the way. The hallmark of the team’s consistency has been the development of its players, and no player has represented Davidson as well over the past few years as forward De’Mon Brooks.
Brooks, 6’7 and 230 pounds, with the ability to play almost anywhere on the court, has built on his game each year he spent with the team. Now with his college career done and his professional career on the horizon, Brooks was able to reflect on how he has developed the past four seasons.
“My time at Davidson really helped me to learn the game and increase my basketball IQ,” said Brooks. “Coach McKillop made us learn how to play with and without the ball.”
Brooks also cited playing four seasons for Coach McKillop, considered one of the finest coaches in college basketball, as having a great influence on his development. “Coach was tremendous for me, on and off the court,” said Brooks. “He pounds into you his system of Trust, Commitment, Care, and it’s something that you can always carry with you, on and off the court.”
Brooks, a Charlotte native, didn’t need to go far when it came to pick a school. “Davidson is right up the road from my house,” said Brooks. “Being able to be so close to my family always gave me a sense of being home, and it was definitely great for me and my college career.”
As a sophomore, Brooks was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. He averaged almost 16 points and 6 rebounds per game, and he did it while averaging just under 23 minutes per game. Brooks saw how improved he was during that season, but he wasn’t able to build on it his junior year. “I tried too hard to match what I did my sophomore year,” said Brooks.
Learning his lessons from his junior year, Brooks went out and adjust how he played his senior year. “I learned to let the game come to me, instead of trying to force things to happen,” Brooks said. It certainly worked out right for him, as Brooks won his second Player of the Year award, averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds per game, while shooting almost 59% from the field, including hitting 14 of 31 three-point attempts.
After his college season ended, Brooks was invited to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, and since then, he has been training at Accelerate Basketball Training in Charlotte. “Playing in the Portsmouth Tournament allowed me to show that I could play with almost any type of talent,” Brooks said. “It felt good being able to play at a high level with the best seniors in the country.”
Brooks said that his focus during training has been on shooting consistently and working on his conditioning to get into elite shape.
With less than three weeks until the NBA Draft, Brooks has a good idea of what parts of his game are attractive to NBA teams. “I can provide and inside and outside presence, and I surprise people with my ability to do both well,” Brooks explained. “Also, on defense I have the ability to guard multiple positions well.”
Having already worked out for the Phoenix Suns and with a workout scheduled soon with the Charlotte Hornets, Brooks has a good idea of how he can help any team right away. “I can definitely be a high energy guy, playing tough defense and rebounding,” said Brooks. “I see myself as utility guy, like some of the true professionals in the game, like Shane Battier.”
No matter how the next few weeks shake out, Brooks is confident that he has a lot to offer any organization who signs him. “I know I can be a great team player wherever I go, especially for the long-term,” said Brooks. “I am very versatile and can fit into any system, and I have the IQ to learn anything a team needs me to.”
Having watched Brooks play the past four years, it’s hard to disagree with him, and I fully expect him to be watching him play for many more years to come.
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