It’s not every day you pick up a player from a blue-blood program. Sure, a player transferring out of said blue-blood program can be a red flag, but I suspect that’s not the case here.
Garrison Brooks is a senior forward out of North Carolina, where he was a consistent contributor over four seasons. Due to COVID-19, he, like all college athletes, was granted an extra year of eligibility, and he has chosen to play it outside of Chapel Hill.
It’s worth noting that his decision to transfer coincides with the retirement of former head coach Roy Williams at North Carolina, therefore providing Brooks with a convenient opportunity to switch it up. One may try to connect narrative dots in that situation if they so choose.
Consensus is that Brooks steadily improved over his time at North Carolina. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that Brooks worked on his mid-range shot to such an extent that he injured his hand after his sophomore season.
Brooks has been named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC most improved player and preseason ACC player of the year throughout different points of his career, along with placements on various watchlists.
His 6-foot-10, 240-pound frame and his experience playing in the talent pool of the ACC for four years will have a huge impact on the Southeastern Conference. During Brooks’ junior season, he nearly averaged a double-double with 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds.
So why Mississippi State?
Well, my theory might step on a toe or two because I would wager this pickup falls firmly on the shoulders of head coach Ben Howland. I am going to resist the temptation to make this a piece about Howland because it is not. That will come. But regardless of your opinion on Howland’s tenure in Starkville, his pedigree as a coach attracts high-quality talent.
In fact, Brooks is one of several quality talents transferring to the Mississippi State men’s basketball team for the upcoming season, and we will take a look at them as well over the next week or so. Brooks was merely the first in a wave of incoming talent.
Next year’s team will look much different, but expect for Brooks to be a key piece of whatever that may be.