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Brooks’ big league transiton
Former Davidson star tries to latch on with Hornets
Published Wednesday, July 9, 2014 9:49 am
by Herbert L. White

De’Mon Brooks has spent his basketball career in Mecklenburg County.

De’Mon Brooks (center), who starred at Hopewell High and Davidson, is looking to keep his basketball career going with the Charlotte Hornets. The 6-7 Brooks is making the transition from power forward to small forward in the NBA.

He was a high school star at Hopewell High in Huntersville. He was college standout at Davidson. Now he’s trying to land a job with the NBA Charlotte Hornets, whose Summer League team is playing in Las Vegas. The prospect of playing professionally at home is inspiring.

“That would be awesome,” Brooks said after a minicamp session earlier this week. “I have family here, a lot of people I know and trust. For me to play with the Charlotte Hornets would be great. Just making it into the league would be an honor, but for me to play for Charlotte would put a cherry on top.”

To get there, Brooks will have to make the adjustment from a 6-7 power forward in college to professional small forward. The transition has been challenging as Brooks learns to defend on the wings against quicker opponents as well as developing a perimeter jump shot – something he never had to do at Davidson.

 “I’m used to banging inside and fighting for position, but now it’s more on the wing or perimeter defense-oriented, getting through screens and how to play off screens,” Brooks said. “I’m getting a lot of screens I never had before, like coming off double-staggers and stuff like that. I have to be able to adjust my game to do those types of things.”

Brooks’ college coach, Bob McKillop, offered plain advice about making the leap to professional basketball: know the basics and pay attention to details. Success at the highest level will require both.

“He said to keep it simple,” Brooks said. “Just work on the jump shot, you don’t want to take too many dribbles or have the ball stick to you. Two or three dribbles max, then make your move; just trust in the offense. What he’s taught me can translate from any style or level.”

Brooks, who worked out for the Hornets before the NBA draft, is especially excited to have a chance to make an impression in the Summer League. The opportunity to play for a team that carries the nickname of the squad he followed as a kid has a special appeal.

“I remember when they used to be the Charlotte Hornets when they had Baron Davis and those guys,” he said. “Coming back in to try to be able to be on this franchise when they’ve revamped and everything is brand new as a reset button would be great.”


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