‘RAAN COMES HOME
It was first reported by Jon Rothstein that the University of Washington Men’s Basketball team received a commitment from USC transfer (and Seattle native) J’Raan Brooks.
Source: USC transfer J'Raan Brooks has committed to Washington.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 7, 2019
Brooks is a local product that won the 2018 Washington State high school basketball title with the Garfield Bulldogs, led by Head Coach and Husky legend Brandon Roy.
No word yet on whether Brooks will seek immediate eligibility for the upcoming 2019-2020 season, but as it stands now Brooks will sit out a year and become eligible in time for the 2020-2021 season.
Unless Brooks can get a waiver, he would have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting a year.
Hopefully, the Huskies will seek an NCAA transfer waiver for Brooks (he is a local kid with family support in Seattle) that would coincide with the PAC-12 transfer rule allowing immediate eligibility for in-conference transfers.
IMITED SUCCESS AT SC
J’Raan Brooks was a 4-star recruit (ESPN Top 100) that began last season as a 6′ 9″, 220-pound USC freshman.
(Based on Brooks’ reputation as a hard worker at Garfield High, it is reasonable to assume that his hard work continued at USC, so expect Brooks to have gained around 10-20 pounds of muscle.)
Brooks was under-utilized at USC due to accomplished Trojans bigs 6’11” junior Nick Rakocevic (21.8 minutes) and 6’10” senior Bennie Boatwright (28.3 minutes) playing major minutes.
For USC, Brooks averaged 8.2 minutes per game; 2.0 points per game; 1.3 rebounds per game; and shot 44.2% overall.
A little known fact, Brooks shot 35.3% from behind the 3-point line on 17 attempts.
RADITIONAL FOUR WITH TOUCH
Due to his limited playing time at USC, looking back at Brooks’ high school career may be more instructive on what he brings to the Huskies.
In high school, Brooks was a beast on the boards and a very good defender (Metro Co-Defensive Player of the Year) for the nationally ranked Garfield Bulldogs.
Offensively, Brooks demonstrated a nice touch around the basket and often showed a solid mid-range game, as well as an occasional three-pointer.
The Huskies are definitely getting bigger and tougher up front with the addition of Brooks, but don’t overlook his mobility and mid-range shooting touch (or his ongoing effort to extend his range to the three-point line).
Assuming the best case scenario that Brooks is eligible for the 2019-20 season, let’s take a deeper look at how this may impact the Huskies on the court.
REAM 2019 SEASON OR JUST A DREAM?
If eligible for the 2019-20 season, the addition of J’Raan Brooks would give the Huskies a formidable frontline that could matchup well with any program in the nation.
Adding the 6’9 Brooks to the 6’9″ Isaiah Stewart, 6’10” Nate Roberts and 7’0″ Bryan Penn-Johnson would solidify Washington’s 4/5 positions (traditionally, the center and power forward) and allow flexibility for Coach Hopkins to create mismatches with interchangeable bigs in the low and high post.
Coach Hopkins could use Brooks in formidable High-Low post actions, due to his mid-range game, and put massive pressure on the interior of a defense to defend the lane from the free throw line down to the low block.
For example, using Stewart and Brooks together would threaten the interior of a defense and the Huskies would likely get better looks on their outside shots.
(Statistics show that three-point shooting percentages are higher when the shot comes from a kick-out pass — i.e., inside-out pass — because it is harder for a defender that has collapsed to the lane to recover and contest the three.)
The 2019-20 season will be the first season playing for Roberts and BPJ after last year’s redshirt season. Both talented big men are inexperienced, so the addition of Brooks would allow all three bigs to develop at their own pace playing quality minutes as part of a deep frontcourt rotation.
The Huskies deep frontline could develop significantly by the PAC-12 conference tournament and be ready to punish opposing big men for the entire 40 minutes by the postseason.
Also, the significant depth created by adding Brooks this season would allow 6’10” Jaden McDaniels to exclusively play his natural position as a Wing “3” and use his ability to attack off-the dribble from the perimeter, either pulling up for a shot or driving the lane. (in the past, Coach Hopkins has used 6’9″ Hameir Wright as a perimeter player, as well.)
The Huskies would not just have an NBA-sized frontcourt, but they would also have an NBA-skilled frontline that would be a matchup nightmare for every college team in the nation.
EE YOU IN 2020?
If J’Raan Brooks sits out until 2020, there should be big minutes available for him in the 2020-2021 season.
Assuming Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart declare for the 2020 NBA Draft, Brooks will likely be a part of a heavy three-man frontcourt rotation with Nate Roberts and BPJ.
By 2020, Roberts and BPJ will have a year of playing experience, particularly in playing Washington’s 2-3 zone. And Brooks will have had a year of practice time to learn the nuances of the 2-3 zone principles.
Of course, it is too soon to know what the roster of Huskies will look like in 2020.
We’ve all witnessed that this coaching staff leaves no stone unturned in recruiting, even after the traditional recruiting cycle ends.
If Coach Hopkins and staff know that the Huskies are solid up front with three experienced bigs, it will allow them to focus on adding high impact players to the 2020 recruiting class to replace those players leaving early, instead of focusing on finding length for their defense.
Either way it that sounds like the Huskies have all the ingredients needed for continued success.