Brooks impresses at Portsmouth

By Gus Bode

At the conclusion of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, one thing is clear:NBA scouts and general managers are impressed with Darren Brooks.

Whether these same scouts and general managers select him in June’s NBA draft, though, is not.

But he sure didn’t hurt his stock.


Brooks scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the 1ST Place Championship game Saturday, where his Holiday Inn team lost 101-91 to Portsmouth Sports Club.

This followed a 10-point, seven-rebound, six-steal effort in a 99-90 victory against Norfolk Sports Club Friday.

“It was fun,” Brooks said. “I feel like I played well overall.”

Brooks averaged 11.3 points, five rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.6 assists in the three games, playing primarily point guard and shooting guard.

“I was just trying to play within my game,” he said. “A lot of people up there were trying to get their’s and do a lot of scoring and impress the scouts, but I just tried to relax and play my game.”

In the first game, the only one he did not start, he had eight points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in a 109-102 victory against Sales Systems Ltd.

“He did good,” said SIU head coach Chris Lowery, who attended Brooks’ first game. “He’s a great kid and I just wanted to show my support for him by coming to see him play the first night out.”


According to an article by ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford, many NBA general managers were critical of the talent pool at the Portsmouth Invitational. This could possibly sour people’s opinions of Brooks.

Most of the top seniors, including Kansas’ Wayne Simien, Arizona’s Channing Frye and Illinois’ Luther Head never accepted an offer to play in camp.

Others like Daniel Ewing of Duke, Will Bynum and B.J. Elder of Georgia Tech, and Illinois’ Roger Powell, Jr. accepted their invitations but withdrew at the last minute.

Ford wrote, “Expectations have been lowered. Now scouts are looking for steals late in the second round, nothing more.”

“If nothing else, it’s due diligence now,” one scout said in the article. “We just need to make sure that we didn’t miss something from one of these players at a small school. No one gets overly excited about anything here anymore.”

Still, Brooks said he and his agent, Keith Kreiter, who has represented former Minnesota Viking and now Oakland Raider Randy Moss and Toronto Raptor guard Rafer Alston, spoke with a few scouts who were impressed with Brooks’ understanding of the game, defense and shot selection.

“They just said I’m a real heady player,” Brooks said.

Brooks declined to say what NBA teams he spoke with but said the possibility of being drafted looks “pretty good.”

“It’s still kind of early. Now the next step is scheduling workouts, making sure I get an invitation to the Chicago Pre-draft Camp,” he said.

Reporter Drew Stevens can be reached at [email protected]