Former Georgia coach Tubby Smith offers Miller Grove’s Henry Brooks a Minnesota basketball scholarship

Ex-Georgia coach Tubby Smith is likely the first of many big schools to offer Miller Grove's No. 22, Henry Brooks (AJC photo)

Ex-Georgia coach Tubby Smith is likely the first of several coaches from big schools to offer Miller Grove's No. 22, Henry Brooks (AJC photo)

Miller Grove’s Henry Brooks emphasizes his school grades as much as he does defending opposing basketball players.

Brooks maintains a 3.9 GPA in college prep classes and is being recruited by Ivy League schools Harvard, Penn and Cornell.

On the basketball court, Brooks is an ace defender for No. 1-ranked Miller Grove, which is the two-time reigning Class AAAA state champion and favored to win the championship again next month. Miller Grove (24-1) opens the Region 6-AAAA tournament against the Carver-Lithonia winner at 4 p.m. Thursday at Tucker.

Brooks, who moved with his mother and three older siblings to metro Atlanta from the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, is a role model at the DeKalb County school for his athletic and academic excellence.

“It’s a tribute to Henry and his desire to be the best at everything,” Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. “It’s just the natural way he operates. He wants to be the highest achiever in everything.”

“When we’re at practice, he wants to win in every competitive drill. In the classroom, it’s the same way. If he gets an 89 on a grade, Henry will fight tooth and nail to figure out what he has to do to get one more point for an ‘A.’”

At 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, Brooks is hard to overlook in basketball, but that has been the situation with college recruiters until only recently. Brooks plays in the shadows of two of the state’s elite 2012 prospects, teammates Tony Parker and Brandon Morris.

“Henry is long, athletic and plays very smart — he’s definitely a high-level Division I player,” Chamblee coach Caesar Burgess said. “If he was playing for another team, he would be a 20-point-per-game scorer and pulling down double digits in rebounds every night.

“But he plays for Miller Grove with those other guys, and he knows his role very well. He’s very unselfish. He does all the little things it takes to win.”

Brooks averages 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds for Miller Grove, including a 21-point effort in the championship game of the Beach Ball Classic in December. In a narrow 49-46 win over Southwest DeKalb earlier this month, Brooks scored 10 clutch points in the game’s last few minutes.

However, Brooks’ defensive accomplishments have brought the most satisfaction. “I would much rather defend the last shot rather than take it,” he said. “I’m an assured defender. I believe no one can score on me on defense.”

Brooks held Milton’s Dai-Jon Parker to seven points in a 71-61 upset victory Dec. 4. It was the only loss to a Georgia team during the regular season for Milton (23-2), which is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA as the defending state champions.

Recruiting has picked up for Brooks, one of the state’s top unsigned seniors. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith recently offered a scholarship, while N.C. State, Missouri and Georgia State have shown interest.

“He’s a ‘Tubby’ type of player,” White said. “Henry is a high-energy guy who is defensive-minded and can score. He has a high basketball IQ and makes good decisions on the floor.”

Who are some other overlooked and unsigned seniors? Please post below.

16 comments Add your comment

Marcus Jones

February 17th, 2011
9:44 am

Good job young man! Love to read stories of athletes being successful off the court as well. Tubby is a great coach and role model….best of luck to you!

drew dawg

February 17th, 2011
2:03 pm

Mark Fox needs to start recruiting him ASAP!


February 17th, 2011
2:26 pm

I’ve known this guy since 7th grade steady progress in his game.

Devil Lover

February 17th, 2011
2:59 pm

Hey Micheal, does AJC know that the region tournaments has started yet I can’t find a blog about any of the games. You could at least post the scores and yet the fans discuss since the AJC experts have nothing to say.


February 17th, 2011
3:00 pm

Take the ivy league route….even though no athletic scholarships..


February 17th, 2011
3:01 pm

Congratulations to Henry and his family! Wonderful that a good student and player will have great opportunities!


February 17th, 2011
3:07 pm

Terel Hall point guard Terrell County is overlooked talent and has D-1 skills

Milton dad

February 17th, 2011
3:55 pm

Kudos to you kid. A great model for young kids with aspirations on the basketball court. You don’t have to sacrifice your pursuit of academic success in order to succeed at basketball. We’re starting to see more of this. Milton is loaded with D1 talent and academic success. Refreshing. Also, Fox: get on this hound ASAP!


February 17th, 2011
4:32 pm

COME TO PENN Henry!!!!!


February 17th, 2011
4:54 pm

Go to Harvard! Sign Now! I say that and I am a UGA fan.

rick bain

February 17th, 2011
6:59 pm

congrats young man. give GOD all the glory! lil henry, on behalf of my family and those of us who knew you when you were that unruly, always mischievous little christian brat, congratulations on your athletic and academic success. we are so proud of you. being here in minneapolis for you, would not only be an advantage for the university but you would also have a home away from home at our house. bbq shrimp, po boys, pralines, etc. we have all those things. it’ll be like back in the big easy.


February 18th, 2011
10:28 am

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February 18th, 2011
10:11 pm

Greenville High School is loaded with talent

John Wilson

February 19th, 2011
3:48 am

…overlooked and unsigned seniors: sure these guys will be signing with somebody between March & April:Roderick Perkins – Campbell HS, Jeremey Meyer – South Cobb HS, Lanerly Johnson – Walton HS, Larry Erves – Fayette HS, Brandon Waters – Hillgroove HS, Tyler Brookings & Dwayne Conley – Kennesaw Mountain, Jalen Clark, John Smith & Eddie Cengic – North Cobb HS

norcross dad

February 19th, 2011
10:23 am

Good for you Henry. We want to hear more of stories like this. Good Luck!

Big Wes

February 23rd, 2011
2:54 pm

Congrats to this young man and his family!!!! Benard Thompson 6′4″ Guard Rockdale County High. Very athletic, good shooting stroke, plays within himself, and can lock down on defense.