Spring Grove's Eli Brooks scores 2,000th point
Tuesday night could've been all about Spring Grove's Eli Brooks if he had wanted it to be.
After all, the superstar senior scored the 2,000th point of his high school career, becoming just the sixth boy and 13th player overall in YAIAA history to reach the lofty milestone.
But after the game, he took time to pose for pictures and to sign autographs for many young fans in attendance at the Rockets' 53-37 win over Red Lion at Fitzkee Athletic Center.
"That's Eli, he's done it the right way," Red Lion coach Steve Schmehl said. "And this isn't the first time he's signed autographs after games. I've heard from other coaches in the division that he's done the same after games against their teams. He's a role model for all the kids in the area."
Schmehl added, "I've seen players that aren't half the player that he is and they have way more ego than he does."
Brooks' milestone moment came at the 3:09 mark of the opening quarter when he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing off an assist from fellow senior Austin Panter. Brooks caught the pass in the right corner, pump-faked and took a stepback dribble before letting fly and catching nothing but not.
"It felt like any other basket to me," Brooks said. "I felt towards the end of last season that 2,000 was a realistic goal for me. But I had to become a more complete scorer and get better at finishing around the basket, and that's what I worked a lot on last summer."
Panter, the Rockets' second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game, scored 12 points on Tuesday had nothing but praise for Brooks.
"It's so encouraging for the rest of us that a player as good as Eli is so positive with everyone on the team," Panter said. "He's a leader and a superstar in every way, except for ego."
Brooks, a University of Michigan signee, played his AAU ball with the Jersey Warriors and that experience is when he felt he could play at a high NCAA Division I level.
"Prior to my junior year, I played against the top players from around the country and was able to score when I wanted and pass when I wanted, That's when I knew that I could play at that level," he said.
Spring Grove head coach James Brooks saw his son's immense talent for the game at a much younger age.
"I could see that Eli was a special player since he was in second grade," James Brooks said. "He's a lot smarter as a player and a student than I was growing up."
The elder Brooks topped 1,000 points in just two seasons as a varsity player at Gettysburg High before going on to play at East Stroudsburg University.
As for how he chose Michigan, even after receiving a scholarship offer from his "dream school", Villanova University, Eli said, "I really liked Nova growing up and it's an honor to have received an offer from them, but I didn't feel like their style really fit me and Michigan's style is something that I think I fit in well."
Brooks is undecided on what he will major in at Michigan, but said it will likely be something to do with business.
YAIAA 2,000-point club
2,595 - Sierra Moore, Delone Catholic, 2012
2,504 - Andrew Nicholas, Eastern York, 2011
2,388 - Jacob Iati, York Catholic, 2008
2,304 - Autumn Lau, Northeastern, 2009
2,258 - Lauren Beckley, Fairfield, 2006
2,236 - Adam Miller, Kennard-Dale, 1993
2,216 - Jon Iati, York Catholic, 2003
2,175 - Barb DeShields, William Penn, 1990
2,175 - Brian Pearl, York Catholic, 1991
2,162 - Kady Schrann, York Catholic, 2011
2,097 - Meredith Cox, Delone Catholic, 2006
2,044 - Meggan Quinn, Red Lion, 2006
2,000 and counting - Eli Brooks, Spring Grove, 2017