4-Point Play: Alvin Brooks III opens up on early time at Kentucky (2024)

Alvin Brooks III had it made in Waco, serving as the Associate Head Coach under Scott Drew and helping lead the Baylor Bears to a national championship in 2021. He had emerged as one of the top recruiters in college basketball and signed arguably the best class in program history ahead of the 2024-25 season. There weren’t many assistants with better reputations nationally, universally respected and equally feared as a shark capable of hunting down and securing top talent.

And then Mark Pope and the Kentucky Wildcats called, throwing a wrench into Brooks’ plans to stick around as Drew’s right-hand man.

How are things going for the Houston native, now with the same Associate Head Coach tag in Lexington? He sat down with an old Baylor friend in Matt Mosley of Fox Sports on his new podcast, Obstructed View, to talk about the highs and lows with the Wildcats. We’ll hit the highlights tonight on 4-Point Play.

Do you like car shows and raising money for charity?Then come join MiddleGround for Cruisin’ for a Cause on July 6th at the Valvoline World Headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky to raise money for Habitat for Humanity!

The car show begins at 11 am and will wrap up at 3 pm! There will be several awards (multiple categories) and Miss Kentucky will be in attendance!There will also be multiple food trucks, top vendors, and activities for the kids!

The first 100 entries to purchase their tickets online will receive a dash plaque celebrating this charity event.So come join us on July 6th to raise money for Habitat for Humanity at Cruisin’ for a Cause, spread the word!

4-Point Play: Alvin Brooks III opens up on early time at Kentucky (1)

Making the move from Waco to Lexington

Why would Brooks leave such a comfortable situation at Baylor for Kentucky under a new head coach in Pope, a situation without an established foundation or certain stability? What was the difference in moving on from his longest-tenured job of eight years, especially when the Bears had a contending roster built with a phenomenal recruiting class going into next season?

Well, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was the hardest decision he’s ever had to make with his family by his side, one that still hurts to this day. He’ll be the first to tell you there were plenty of tears involved.

“It was very hard, it wasn’t easy at all. You think about the staff, Coach (Scott) Drew — I was with Coach Drew for eight years,” Brooks said. “We had a lot of success on the court, and off the court, we built a lifetime friendship. That was the hardest part, just talking to Coach Drew and letting him know that I was going to Kentucky. When you’re somewhere for eight years — that’s the longest I’ve ever been — you’re going to build lifetime relationships. That’s all my kids know. My kids are eight and nine years old, so when we first came to Baylor, they were babies. They don’t know anything else. Our youngest took it probably the hardest.

“My wife and I, to be honest, the night after we made a decision, the next morning, we shed a few tears. This is a place that we love with people that we love, so it wasn’t an easy decision at all.”

It was tough, but Brooks is confident he and his family made the right call together. At the end of the day, he was able to get his sons additional necessary resources while also moving up the coaching ladder as the top assistant at the winningest program in college basketball history.

“It was the best decision for my family and myself. They have resources here to help my kids. It’s not a secret that both of my sons have autism and our oldest son has severe autism. They have resources here that would be able to help our kids a little bit more than the resources we had in Waco. Waco did a great job helping my family, but (Lexington) will be able to really help us,” Brooks said. “Then the opportunity to continue to grow as a coach in Kentucky was also a big plus. And so having a chance to help my family and having a chance to grow as a coach was really an opportunity that was hard to pass up.”

He helped Baylor win a national championship in Waco. Part of the draw to Lexington? Doing the same at Kentucky, something Big Blue Nation is desperate to see amid the program’s ongoing 12-year title drought.

It’s a new challenge with the hungriest, most passionate fanbase in the sport. He embraces those expectations and is equally hungry to hang banner No. 9.

“If you walk into our practice gym, there are only eight banners in the practice gym. It’s the national championships,” Brooks said. “If we talk about anything less than a national championship, we’re not living up to the Kentucky standard. Every day, making sure we add a ninth banner to the practice gym, that’s the goal. It’s early in the process and we need to continue to get better at the habits we need to continue getting better at, but definitely the ultimate goal is to win a national championship.

“We wouldn’t be here at Kentucky if we didn’t have that standard.”

If you follow him on social media, he’ll be the first to tell you “it’s just different here,” especially with BBN. Everywhere he goes, they’re there — and he loves it.

It’s an adjustment, obviously, but a welcomed one.

“The fanbase is heavily invested and it’s a tradition to where there are Kentucky fans all over the country. I have to get used to that part,” Brooks joked.

A coachable group making real strides

So how is the team looking up to this point now two full weeks into the summer practice schedule? Can they turn those championship dreams into a reality in year one under Pope with Brooks by his side?

That’s the hope, but there is still a long, long, long, long, long way to go before we can say with confidence one way or another. For now, though, it is fair to say the Wildcats are coming along quite nicely for only being on campus one month together.

“We have to ramp it up just for — the most connected teams win. We have to figure out ways to get them around each other as much as possible so we can become a connected team,” Brooks said. “… This has been a very, very coachable group. A lot of that has to do with it being older guys that know what it takes. We’ve asked them to do a lot, and to their credit, they’ve done a lot in a very fast time.”

One thing that will help? La Familia coming to Lexington, a group of former Kentucky stars and NBA players coming back to play in The Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena later this month. As Pope said before, the current Wildcats will get to compete against that squad in practice, hopefully teaching the younger guys a thing or two about what it takes to win big here in the process.

“We also have the Kentucky TBT team that will practice in Lexington, so it’ll be similar to what we did at Baylor where we have Vet Week, an opportunity to scrimmage against top-level guys that have played at Kentucky,” he said. “That’ll definitely help us. We’re preparing to play against them. Then we’ll get a chance to reset and have an opportunity to continue to be connected and get better together.”

Shot-makers line the roster

Pope hasn’t been shy about his goal of taking 35 threes per game at Kentucky. He’s built this roster with that identity in mind, Brooks making it clear that just about everyone on the team can hit shots at a ridiculous clip. Even the guys who can’t right now will be capable shooters by the time the season rolls around.

“It’s quite a few (shooters on the team). We were blessed to recruit the guys that fit us,” Brooks said. “I would say 10 of 12 for sure, but the bigs haven’t gotten a chance to show it yet. I’m sure they at some point will be able to hit one a game. We have a lot of guys shooting threes in practice.”

That’s been priority No. 1 in these early practices, a demand for Pope when setting the tone early. If there is a clean look available, you need to take it.

“There is more than one way to win, so I’m excited to learn this way,” Brooks said. “The biggest thing Coach Pope says is, ‘Don’t pass up open shots.’ If they give us an open three, we’re going to take the open three.”

The Kentucky Associate Head Coach was awesome in his 30-minute interview on Obstructed View, sharing old stories from his time at Baylor and new ones from now at Kentucky. Check it out if you missed it:

4-Point Play: Alvin Brooks III opens up on early time at Kentucky (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated:

Views: 5673

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.