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IU target Keion Brooks chooses Kentucky

The five-star forward cited a strong relationship with John Calipari and his fit with the Wildcats as major factors in his decision

Basketball: USA Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp
The Hoosiers miss out on one of their top targets of the recruiting cycle.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday possibly the biggest recruiting battle of the year for IU came to a halt as Keion Brooks announced that he will play in Lexington next season.

The small forward from La Lumiere—previously from Fort Wayne North Side—is among the best players in the nation. 247 Sports has Brooks rated as a five-star recruit, the 23rd best player in the nation, and the third best player from Indiana. The only recruits from the Hoosier State ranked ahead of him are his LaLu teammate Isaiah Stewart and future Hoosier Trayce Jackson-Davis.

The rich get richer as Brooks heads to Kentucky. He’ll join a pair of other five-star recruits and a four-star in playing for John Calipari as one of the top five or 10 recruiting classes in the nation.

This one hurts for Archie Miller & Co. because Brooks was likely their last shot at getting another big-time recruit to pair with the aforementioned Jackson-Davis in this class. The Hoosiers currently have outstanding offers to five-stars Trendon Watford and Matthew Hurt as well as four-stars Tre Mitchell and Lester Quinones but it doesn’t seem like Indiana truly has a chance with any of them at the moment.

This should leave the Hoosiers with an open scholarship given that Romeo Langford declares for the NBA Draft following the season. Miller has said in the past that he isn’t opposed to leaving a scholarship open because it allows the program to have some flexibility so that’s certainly an option, but the Hoosiers could also be active on the transfer market. Adding a grad transfer with a reputation for shooting well didn’t work out exactly how many hoped it would this season, but that’s certainly an option once again. Perhaps that scholarship gets dedicated for use that will benefit the Hoosiers down the line by either bringing in a transfer that will have to sit, getting a 2020 recruit to reclassify and then redshirt a la Race Thompson, or just saving it to use for the class of 2020.