Sting Factor: Impact of Keion Brooks' decision
Big news came down on Friday evening, as Keion Brooks decided to end his long and drawn-out recruitment in favor of the Kentucky Wildcats. While it's a giant win for John Calipari it also stings his other finalists. We assess where Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue and UNC go from here.
STING FACTOR: 10
This one hurts. Archie Miller has done a great job since taking over in Bloomington when it has to come landing the best in-state talent, and Keion Brooks is the first elite targets to decline the chance to play for Indiana. Going after such a talent and coming up short is one thing, but for it to be someone that Miller and his staff have recruited for so long and had such a major need for is an entirely different dynamic. The Hoosiers are likely to miss the NCAA Tournament this year, and they will lose their top two contributors after the season. Trayce Jackson-Davis should help fill the void left by Juwan Morgan, but Brooks was expected to be the guy to replace Romeo Langford. Miller must quickly find another way to do so. Expect for him to push further with Rivals150 guard Harlond Beverly and also be super active this spring in the grad-transfer realm and with the recruitments of those that decommit after coaching changes.
STING FACTOR: 6
The bigger misses were felt months ago, when the Spartans lost out on Vernon Carey and Isaiah Stewart, but coming up short with the Indiana native is still a difficult pill to swallow. Many believed that Brooks' commitment was a race between Indiana and Kentucky for months now, but behind closed doors the Spartans had picked up ground. That is all for naught, and the sting will be even more painful as Brooks suits up for the inner-conference Hoosiers. Michigan State could hit the grad-transfer waters this spring, but the enrollment of Malik Hall and Julius Marble - along with an offseason of development for Gabe Brown, Aaron Henry, Xavier Tillman and Marcus Bingham - should be enough to solidify its frontcourt so that the Spartans can compete for another Big Ten title.
STING FACTOR: 4
Keion Brooks would just have been icing on the cake and given Purdue even more momentum riding a season that saw its head coach, Matt Painter, win the Big Ten Coach of the Year while also surprisingly capturing the regular season title alongside Michigan State. It just was not meant to be - which is no surprise. Sure, the Boilermakers remained in the picture and were aided by becoming the first high-major to offer very early in the process, which left an impression on Brooks and his family. However, with just Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert graduating, the cupboard remains far from bare. Eric Hunter and Aaron Wheeler should return even better next season and an immediate impact from Rivals150 guard Brandon Newman would come as no surprise. The fact that the Boilermakers are likely to lose All-American Carsen Edwards is a bigger sting than the miss with Brooks.
STING FACTOR: 9
Based on need alone, Brooks would have filled a giant hole for the Tar Heels. Kenny Williams, Coby White and Cam Johnson are likely all gone after this season (with White the only one to have a slight chance of returning), and yet UNC has not found any of their replacements. Brooks is a multidimensional scorer with great size who can rebound and defend different positions, assets that UNC needs to acquire if it wants to compete for another national title. The Tar Heels have lost out on Brooks, which makes their pursuit of Precious Achiuwa and Matthew Hurt even more pressing. Also, do not be surprised if they push even more for Isaiah Todd and then attempt to enroll the junior in the fall after a reclassification. UNC continues to win on the playing floor, but the past few months have not been great on the recruiting trail. Brooks is the latest miss.