BLOG: Eli Brooks most-coveted recruit in county history

Steve Heiser

Eli Brooks is the most coveted recruit in York County boys' basketball history.

Yes, that's a pretty sweeping statement, but that's the only conclusion you can reasonably draw after what has occurred over the past few weeks.

Spring Grove senior Eli Brooks was held to 16 points in his final high school game. He finished his career with 2,426 points, second most in York County history. He is one of six finalists for the Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball Award.

In case you haven't heard, on Tuesday night, the Spring Grove High School standout gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Michigan next season.

That's the same Michigan program that owns one national basketball title (1989), five NCAA runner-up finishes (including one just three years ago in 2013) and seven Final Four appearances.

The Wolverines, without a doubt, are one of the elite basketball programs in the nation.

The Big Ten school, however, wasn't the only big-time basketball school chasing after Brooks.

Brooks also reportedly had offers from Villanova, Ohio State, North Carolina State and Kansas State. All of those teams are steeped in college basketball tradition.

The Villanova and Ohio State offers came over the past few weeks after Brooks apparently put on some stunning performances on the national AAU circuit this spring and summer with the Jersey Shore Warriors.

Villanova just happens to be the defending national champion. The Wildcats own two national titles overall and five Final Four appearances.

Eli Brooks living up to expectations

Ohio State has won one national crown (1960) and has made a whopping 11 Final Four appearances, most recently in 2012.

N.C. State has captured two NCAA crowns and has reached three Final Fours. Kansas State has made four Final Fours.

It's impossible to remember any other York County boys' basketball player getting that kind of attention from schools with such impressive pedigrees.

York County has produced dozens of NCAA Division I boys' basketball recruits over the years, but the most have gone to low-major or mid-major programs. A chosen few have gone to bigger schools such as Maryland, Clemson and Penn State, but none garnered the notice given to Brooks.

Before this spring, Brooks looked poised to join that group headed to a mid-major.

That all changed recently, when the 6-foot, 1-inch, 175-pound guard excelled in AAU action.

The recruiting services definitely noticed.

According to 247Sports.com, Brooks is rated a four-star recruit (on a five-star scale). For the Class of 2017, the service lists Brooks as the No. 17 point guard recruit in the nation, the No. 89 overall recruit in the nation and the No. 5 recruit in the state of Pennsylvania.

The big-time coaches, such as Michigan's John Beilein and Villanova's Jay Wright, also took notice.

Getting that kind of recognition is all pretty heady stuff, especially for a kid from York County, which has not exactly been a basketball recruiting destination for top-tier college coaches.

Now Brooks has decided to be a Wolverine.

That should give the Rockets' standout some peace of mind entering his senior campaign.

Brooks, under the direction of his father, James Brooks, has helped revive a Spring Grove program that had struggled mightily before their arrival.

Last year, Eli Brooks averaged nearly 25 points per game en route to earning second-team all-state honors. He helped Spring Grove capture its first league tournament title since 1971. The Rockets also finished third in the District 3-AAAA playoffs and earned a state playoff berth. Spring Grove boasted a final record of 25-4.

York County basketball fans should enjoy watching his upcoming senior season.

Because there's a chance you'll never see his like again.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.