Big Dipper Classic Scouting: Macari Brooks and Pat Miller
The annual Big Dipper Classic was held at Rich South High School this past weekend in Richton Park, matching up some of the best teams in Illinois in an 8-team, single elimination tournament. Two of the players competing, junior Macari Brooks and senior Pat Miller, caught my eye. Here’s a quick scouting report on the Division-I prospects.
Macari Brooks, 6’2″, Junior, Rich South
Brooks currently has offers from Depaul, Dayton, Illinois State, and Northern Illinois, but those offers are sure to increase if he continues this kind of play. In his first round game, Brooks carried his team to a 72-33 blowout of Fenger. While Brooks did not face much of a challenge in the game, his skills were on display as he finished with 24 points on 9-15 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and just one turnover in 27 minutes.
Athleticism is the name of the game for Brooks who worked the baseline against Fenger’s 2-3 zone and had his way with easy passes for layups, quick jumpers, as well as drives to the hoop. He only hit one three in the game because of his position on the baseline, but he had good elevation on his jumper which should make up for his size at the next level.
His passing was excellent and it will be interesting to see if he sees time at point guard this summer on his AAU team, Mac Irvin Fire. His ball handling and court vision will need work if he is going to make that transition, but if he stays at shooting guard all the tools are there.
On the defensive end, Brooks soared for his rebounds and, despite the score, played hard throughout in front of the hometown crowd. With Illinois-bound Crandall Head out with an injury, Brooks has been asked to pick up the slack for Rich South. They finished the tournament by winning the third place game, a 73-63 win over Marquette-bound Reggie Smith and the Thornton Wildcats.
In the game, Brooks led his team with 22 points and showed even more range against Thornton’s man-to-man defense. I was only able to catch the second half of the game (when it got out of hand), so there was not much to see on Brooks. California, Xavier, Louisville, and South Florida have all shown interest in Brooks and at this pace, that interest should be rising quickly as he continues to light up the box score.
Pat Miller, 6’0″, Senior, Hales Franciscan (signed to Tennessee State)
If the Big Dipper Classic is any indication of how good Pat Miller can be, then the Tennessee State Tigers have a steal with their future point guard. Miller led his team to a 69-64 championship game victory over Crete-Monee Wednesday night, scoring 27 points on 10-20 shooting, handing out five assists and finishing with four steals and a block.
Don’t let the zero in the box score next to “rebounds” fool you: Miller can play some defense. With the most active hands in the tournament, Miller was as pesky as could be on defense and forced Crete into bad passing situations that led to fast break points for Hales. He was credited with four steals but was responsible for probably three or four more turnovers.
As good as he was on defense, Miller made his presence felt on the offensive end where he shot lights out and found open teammates when his shot was not falling (not often). With a very muscular build for his 6-foot frame, Miller was able to rumble inside on drives and stay in control, but also showed an array of outside shots, connecting on four three-pointers from WAY outside.
He was one of the few players in the tournament who, when they put a shot, the crowd knew it was going in (Brooks was another). With three and a half minutes left in the third quarter and Crete on a 5-0 run to pull within one of Hales, Miller put together a combination of a three pointer, a steal, and a three pointer that set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Miller’s size might hurt him in college, but if he continues to shoot well from the outside and keeps his frame, it won’t matter much. His array of outside shots, floaters in the lane, and mid-range shots made him one of the tournament’s better players and he was the main reason Hales Franciscan took home the championship.