NBA hopeful Eli Brooks returns to York County for fundraiser

Dante Green
York Dispatch

Eli Brooks hasn’t been shy about returning to the stomping grounds where he first made a name for himself.

Last Thursday, the former guard at Spring Grove and Michigan hosted the Eli Brooks Basketball Fundraiser at the old Central York gym, with 20% of proceeds going to provide local athletes with new sneakers.

The event featured an autograph session with Brooks, a silent auction for a signed Brooks jersey, a dunk contest and a 3-point shootout with the first-year NBA athlete. Kids were also welcome to participate in drills with Brooks and coaches. The fundraiser included a DJ and food trucks with choices from Taqueria El Camino and On the Moove.

Eli Brooks at his fundraising event in North York on Thursday Sept. 15, 2022.

The former Wolverine said it was his duty to bring what he had learned back home.

“I want to be involved in the community. I'm excited to have these camps and work with the youth in York County,” Brooks said. "It's a blessing to see how the kids have grown up. I'm glad I’m in this position to give back.”

Brooks has made a community appearance in York County twice in the last two months. His first appearance came at a park in Spring Grove in August. After playing in the summer league with the Indiana Pacers, Brooks is hoping to latch on with the team as the NBA season approaches. He said he plans to work the way he did at Michigan. 

“It’s the same story. I have to work hard," Brooks said. “I have to continue to work on myself and get better. It’s not going to be easy. It’s familiar territory."

Erik (10), on left, and Kimberley Garcia (12), on right, from York, with El Brooks, at the fundraising event in North York on Thursday Sept. 15, 2022.

Brooks spent summer league with the team and has an Exhibit-10 agreement — a single-season minimum deal that can be converted to a two-way contract with the NBA's G-League. He’s hoping to make the roster or solidify a G-League spot when the NBA season starts on October 18. The Pacers recently signed 35-year-old veteran James Johnson and has multiple G-League veterans competing for spots, so Brooks knows he faces an uphill battle.

The 23-year-old said he will continue to contribute to the community he still has fond memories of playing in.

“I had some of my favorite games here back home — winning a championship and seeing all the people in the stands that game," Brooks said of his time at Spring Grove. "The county championships were crazy. So many people were there to support us."

Fans also had a chance to ask Brooks questions during an open response. One question posed by the audience was what advice Brooks would give his younger self. He said his message also applies to youth in the community. 

“Make sure you have connections and resources,” he said. “Make sure you reach out. Ask people you look up to. Ask as many questions as you need to. Pick people's brains.”