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Friday, December 8, 2023

Men's Basketball

Q&A: Armoni Brooks excited to show new tools

Junior Armoni Brooks won the AAC Sixth Man of the Year Award last season for his stellar play coming off the bench. | Thomas Dwyer/ The Cougar

Sharpshooter. Team player. Hard worker. These are the traits of junior guard Armoni Brooks, who has been called at least one of the above throughout his basketball career.

Now he can add Sixth Man of the Year to that list. After his award-winning season, Brooks will be looking to take another step forward in progressing his game.

The Cougar caught up with Brooks after a summer workout.

The Cougar: How’s your offseason been so far? How do you feel about it?

Armoni Brooks: The offseason has been long, but the whole team is working really hard. I have a good feeling about this team. We’ve got a lot of good returning players and great incoming players, so I feel like we have a really high ceiling. I’m really excited about this team’s potential.

TC: Speaking of your potential, has the team discussed any goals for itself so far?

Brooks: We’ve been talking a little bit. We want to speak into existence that we want to make the Sweet Sixteen and possibly further. It starts with us coming together and finding our roles and really believing we can do it.

TC: The team took a big blow in losing guard Rob Gray. How is the team planning to make up for that?

Brooks: Rob was an extremely electric scorer, so it’s going to be hard for one person to replace that scoring load, but we have so many different options we don’t need one person to replace it. We’ll have plenty of players scoring nine, 10 and 11 points instead of one person scoring 37. The variety of players we have and the ways we can score should make up for what we’re missing from Rob.

TC: Have you added anything to your game this summer?

Brooks: Yeah, I’ve really been working on my off-the-dribble game. I can use my three-point shooting as a weapon to lead to pump fakes and one dribble mid-range shots. I’ve really been working on finishing in the paint with either hand. Just practicing finishing over big men and through contact.

TC: I saw on Twitter that through your career you’ve tried around 10 different jump shot forms. What made you stick with this one? Obviously it’s been working.

Brooks: When I was a kid, my elbow used to be really far out when I shot, and it made my jumper inconsistent. Throughout middle school and early high school, I had to change my jump shot at least 15 times. Once I found my shot sophomore year in high school, I stuck with it, and it’s gotten me where I’m at now. I’m going to keep sticking with it.

TC: You were the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, and that’s a huge accomplishment. Do you have anything like that planned for yourself this year?

Brooks: Honestly, last year I didn’t even expect to win any awards, so I don’t really have any expectations. I’m just going to do my best to help the team win, and whatever happens after that happens.

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