Eli Brooks, a 2017 Spring Grove graduate, has left for the University of Michigan after a memorable high school career for the Rockets.


James and Kelly Brooks made the 7 1/2-hour drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week to drop off their son Eli Brooks at the University of Michigan. 

Eli Brooks, the biggest story to come out of Spring Grove this season, and perhaps the highest-profile basketball recruit to come out of York County, turned the page on the next chapter of his story. 

But he didn't leave before providing the rest of the world one more glimpse at his hometown and talking once again about the father-son/coach-player story that resonated with so many people during the last four years. 

Months ago James Brooks received a call from CNN.

MORE ON BROOKS: Eli Brooks proud to take after coach, father
MORE ON MICHIGAN: Grad transfer to mentor Brooks, young guards

"At first I thought it was a prank," James Brooks said. 

Turns out, Great Big Story — a digital and online hub for CNN — wanted to do a video on the father and son before Father's Day. 

After three days of filming ... after the crew shot more than 11 hours of footage ... after posting the near-3-minute video online, people have continued to take notice. The clip, posted on YouTube, among other sites, has more than 450,000 views.

"It's pretty wild," James Brooks said.

"They got a commercial, a story and a documentary."

The crew captured Brooks walking the halls of Spring Grove High School, interacting with classmates and teammates. At one point in the video, James Brooks became emotional talking about his son.

"It's always great to talk about something positive," James Brooks said Tuesday night. "And it was something that ended the way you thought it would ... at least with Eli's senior year."

No unforeseen circumstances ruined the special season.


Spring Grove's Eli Brooks has been on the radar of Division I college programs and the recruiting season heats up in July with several AAU showcase tournaments.

It was the perfect end to a near-perfect season. Eli Brooks powered Spring Grove to the state quarterfinals, taking the boys' basketball program deeper into the postseason than it had ever been.

Now a new chapter and and a new season will begin. 

One sure sign of change, Michigan fans on message boards quickly noticed the final credits of the recent video, specifically the line "wardrobe provided by Michael Strahan available exclusively at JCPenney." But before anyone gets the wrong idea, James Brooks said he paid for the two suits he and his son wore as to avoid any questions of impropriety from the NCAA.

They received no money or compensation from the video crew, James Brooks said. 

Even after Eli Brooks' departure from Spring Grove, the Rockets will retain their coach. James Brooks held true to what he had said all season: he is expected to return to coach the Rockets in 2017-18. 

"It really came down to the fact, I didn't want to chase around the country following Eli," said James Brooks, who works as a floor support engineer at BAE Systems. "I wanted to give (Spring Grove) a fighting chance to carry on what we started, and I thought we had a better chance to do that if I stayed."


Spring Grove's Eli Brooks is having another standout season in his senior year. Hear what his teammates and an opponent have to say about playing alongside and against the University of Michigan recruit.

Read or Share this story: