Garrison Brooks and Corey Boston: A high school junior and a junior high school senior expect big basketball summers
By Donnell Suggs
The school year is winding down and most kids will have their minds firmly on summer vacation plans or where they are going to be looking for a summer job or both. A selected few will traveling with their respective AAU (Amatuer Athletic Union) basketball teams in search of higher rankings and the eye of college coaches all across the nation. Two of those players; one a junior heading into the summer before his all important senior season and the other an eighth-grader embarking on the journey that is high school. Both Garrison Brooks of Auburn High School and Corey Boston of J.P. Powell Middle School are prime examples of LaFayette born basketball talent and the future looks bright for both of these young men.
Brooks had just finished playing his uncle Morris “Mo” Finley, a former LaFayette High School Bulldog and University of Alabama at Birmingham point guard, in a game of one-on-one before calling me for our scheduled phone conversation. According to Brooks he beat his uncle, a former professional player overseas. These days Brooks isn’t taking basketball -even a friendly game of one-on-one- like a game. In his current position as one of Alabama’s most highly sought basketball recruits, he can’t afford to. “I really want to win, I just want to be better than everybody else,” said Brooks regarding his current approach to basketball. “It kind of started like that a year ago, he continued. “Last year I played to the level of my competition, now I don’t care who it is out there.”
Over the phone Boston sounds like the 14-year old that he is. Very courteous with his “Yes Sir, No Sir” answers to my questions. Corey speaks in a hushed tone and seems to take nearly a minute to respond. He’s a point guard in-training and despite the LHS Bulldogs having a heck of a senior point guard and quarterback returning to the court and field next season in JaTarvious Whitlow, Boston is the future of the program. No matter what Bulldogs coach Obadiah Threadgill allows me to think. “I don’t know yet, I have five eighth graders who we’re expecting to build upon [next season],” said Threadgill via text message. “We’ll see. I’m hoping he has a great summer.” The near future is now for Boston, in particular at point guard where his gifts are most noticeable. “He knows how to play the point guard position,” says Georgia Kings AAU 8th grade team coach Antonio Mathis. “Corey gets his teammates involved and plays the right way, he’s got all of the tools to be a very good player.” His JV coach at LaFayette High School concurs the same sentiments. “I feel like he has matured tremendously,” says Travis Smith. “He’s now learning how to take charge of the offense and get everyone involved.” His plans this summer: “I’m trying to get better with my right hand.” For an eighth grader Boston has a mature grasp of what’s important. “I like passing the ball and watching my teammates score and helping my team win.” This kid’s priorities are in order.
Brooks now stalks the paint for the Auburn High School Tigers but proudly hails from LaFayette. “Born and raised,” said Brooks when I asked him about his hometown, “everybody in my family is from LaFayette, my dad, mom, uncle, everybody.” I had to ask Brooks what he thought about how good the Bulldogs would have been this season if he and his family didn’t move to Auburn after his seventh grade year at J.P. Middle School. “I think we’d be ring fitting right now,” says Brooks. The kid doesn’t lack for confidence that’s for sure. “It’s been awesome to see him grow as a person and a player,” said Finley about his nephew, “his goal is to be better each year and so far he’s done that.” He is now able to realize what he wants from athletics, meaning a sound education with a promising career in Health/Sports Management,” says Brooks’ mother Tamala C. Colquitt. “No One sees the missing prom, school dances, hanging out with friends because of all of the travel, training and games. I am really really impressed how he is handling everything.”
The everything Colquitt is speaking of might have something to with Brooks’ summer hoops schedule. The 6-9, 215 pound power forward is set to travel the country with a number of basketball circuits; Nike EYBL in Brooklyn and Indiana next month, AAU tournaments in Hampton, Virginia and Suwanee, Georgia in May and the prestigious Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina near the end of the summer in July. “My mom always told me ‘If you’re not going to play hard then why play’,” says Brooks of all of the upcoming basketball he’s going to be involved in.
Boston and the Georgia Kings will kick off their summer at the Southern Exposure tournament in Birmingham next month. “I’m looking forward to playing ball this summer, mainly to have something to do,” said Boston near the end of our interview.
One is just starting his journey, the other getting prepared for what will be a huge audition for some of the country’s best college hoops programs. Both of their lives will change when the summer is done and by all accounts for the better.