- 2.6 points per game
- 2.3 rebounds
- 0.6 blocks
Even though he played more minutes and in more games during his sophomore season, it almost seemed like Nysier Brooks was less visible. A lot of that has to do with the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year campaign put in by Gary Clark, the strong work of Kyle Washington and the addition of a number of important bench players like Cane Broome, Trevor Moore and Keith Williams. Brooks ended up ninth on the team in minutes played and was competing with such a deep roster of talent for even that time.
In those 340 spins of the clock, Brooks produced more, but was not as effective as he had been during his freshman season when he got better and better as the season went on. While he averaged a career-high 2.6 points per game, he only had 6.4 points per 40 minutes, which was 1.5 points below his mark from the previous season. Additionally, he struggled to finish around the rim, shooting just 49.4 percent from the floor after making 52.8 percent in 2016-17. His true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage were both down as well.
But Brooks wasn’t plugged into the lineup to carry the offense. It is in that way that he actually improved. His usage percentage remained steady, but his defensive work and rebounding effort went up. He averaged 2.3 rebounds per game and 9.5 per 40 minutes, which nearly eclipsed his freshman mark by two boards. While his rim protecting was a bit less dominant, he became a better overall defender, earning 1.0 defensive win shares and an 85.3 defensive rating, an improvement of 10 points from last year’s total.
The Best of the Best
Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Western Carolina
In 12 minutes he brought down eight rebounds, which would end up being his season-high. He also had two of his eight assists for the season and blocked a shot.
Nov. 27, 2017 vs. Alabama State
A season-high nine points on 3-of-3 shooting during 13 minutes was a solid effort.
Jan. 13, 2018 at USF
He only played nine minutes, but he packed a lot into that. He scored six points on 2-of-2 shooting and a 2-for-2 effort from the free throw line, while blocking two shots and securing a pair of rebounds.
Jan. 20, 2018 vs. East Carolina
Eight points and five rebounds in 11 minutes helped the Bearcats crush the Pirates.
For Next Year
Brooks should earn even more playing time next year now that he is no longer blocked by Clark and Washington. While it seems like the Bearcats will employ a somewhat new philosophy in terms of rotations, Brooks already has more than 600 minutes of collegiate game time under his belt and his ability to crash the boards and improve as a defender has certainly won him a fan in Mick Cronin. The offense is going to come from the wings primarily next season, or so it seems, so Brooks doesn’t need to suddenly become a volume scorer, but he does need to finish better around the rim and provide efficient, albeit rare, offensive punch.