I have a certain appreciation for the old school big man. That is what we have here today. The #19 slot belongs to Garrison Brooks as the first and only representative of the North Carolina Tarheels on ACCBR’s returning players countdown.
Brooks, a 6’9 power forward from Alabama, has established himself as the best big man of the 2017 trio that included Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman. The traditional post averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in a shade over 23 minutes per game last season while shooting 57.4% from the field. His percentages improved across the board as a sophomore, logging jumps in True Shooting %, Effective FG%, assist rate, and offensive rating. His turnover percentage dropped by 6.6% as he logged fewer turnovers in 840 minutes than he did the previous season in 528 minutes. His defensive rating improved by 6.6 points and his offensive win shares nearly tripled while his defensive win shares doubled.
If there is a knock on Brooks it would be his lack of rim protecting ability. He has blocked only 29 shots in his 73 game career, but Armando Bacot and a hopefully healthy Sterling Manley should provide the rim protection in 2019-20.
Brooks is never going to be a huge numbers guy, but I think he is an All Kevin Keatts team member, he’s a winner. He makes winning plays. He sets good screens, he cuts to the basket, defends the pick and roll, and he has great hands. I said recently on the Busting Brackets podcast with Rauf and Connor that he is one of the best players in the ACC in terms of impact, if not statistically. I firmly stand by that.
Carolina will once again be a top four team in the ACC this season and while many people will point to Cole Anthony as the reason for their success, Garrison Brooks will also have a huge hand in it.