In between scoring a layup on a fastbreak and coming around a screen for an easy jump shot at a recent offseason workout, Eli Brooks took a quick glance over toward the sidelines. A Notre Dame scout? In Spring Grove?
It was true. Brooks' skills on the basketball court had garnered enough attention that coaches and scouts from Notre Dame, St. Joseph's, Drexel, La Salle and nine other Division I schools made their way to Spring Grove in September to see Brooks showcase his skills in a series of team workouts scheduled between his AAU season with the Jersey Shore Warriors and his high school season.
"I find myself peeking over there a good bit," Brooks joked about seeing the cluster of watchful scouts each week. "I kind of feel like a kid in a candy store."
What goes through the mind of a high schooler when one of the most prestigious programs in the country is in York County to see him go through an offseason workout?
"It was a big shock when I saw Notre Dame show up," he admitted. "I just think about the times me and my dad came in to shoot with just me and him. And how people said, 'You can't get looked at if you stay in Spring Grove.'"
Brooks has already proven those skeptics wrong. Six schools as of Sept. 30 have offered the junior guard a scholarship, and five to ten more have stayed in touch. But Brooks will wait until next summer to make a decision, he said.
"I thought it was going to start off with lower looks, but the looks I have been getting have been pretty high," Brooks said of the interested schools. "And they keep climbing. So it has been pretty cool for me. We'll see how things fall."
Scouts have complimented Brooks on his basketball IQ and his court vision during his AAU season with the Warriors, he said.
"I can't tell you how many calls I've got on this kid," Brooks' AAU coach Tony Sagona said in July when Brooks' recruiting eligibility opened. "A lot of guys haven't seen him play since he was young, but now they're calling and asking a million questions. He's an eye-opener. He'll have a ton of offers before he's done. His upside is tremendous."
In return, Brooks prioritizes education, playing time and student living when considering a school...and food selection, of course.
"Because I like eating a lot," he says with a smile.
Brooks doesn't come across as a kid caught up in the hype growing around him. He still manages to find time to join his golf teammates on the links, where he averages an 83.5 for the Rockets — a talking point that scouts love to bring up to Brooks.
"I manage all of this by just doing what I did before I got this attention and just continue to be a high school kid," he said. "And by just relying on my parents' advice and advice from other athletes who have gone through this process."