Roughly 180 basketball players attended the 5 Star Basketball Camp at the University of Central Florida during the last weekend in June, and the skills of three players representing the 14U South Georgia Kings of Hinesville earned the athletes several accolades.
Derrick Brooks Jr. was awarded the NCAA MVP award for his performance in the final all-star game. He also was awarded the NCAA Most Promising Prospect Award. David Rogers was tapped as the NCAA Most Outstanding Player and NCAA Playoff MVP. He was also among the winners in the 3-on-3 championship game. JJ Frazier received the Most Outstanding Playmaker Award during the back court skills clinic camp, primarily for guards.
"This was a real phenomenal place to be," Kings 14U coach Derrick Brooks Sr. said. "For our kids to go down there and achieve that level of recognition is significant. It’s an attribute to their perseverance and hard work, especially when you consider we represent a small community."
Brooks said the camp and the summer league have helped the Kings squads learn to compete with athletes at a national level. He said the Kings are fortunate because the younger players have mentors like current high school standouts Jordan McRae, Rion Brown and Jaquez Motley.
"When our younger kids see these kids working out and they recognize the success, that gives them some motivation," Brooks said. "They realize if they work just as hard or better they can accomplish the same results or better."
Brooks played basketball at Lakeland High School in Florida and later in the Army. He said basketball was always his passion and he started coaching his son, Derrick Brooks Jr., when he joined the LCRD. Brooks coached the 12U Coastal Crew Rebels team before moving to the South Georgia Kings about two years ago. He said as a father he is proud of his son’s accomplishments at the 5 Star Camp and the summer season.
"As a father I’m happy for the success he is having right now but at the same time we want to see him continue his training and not let the success he has right now go to his head," he said of his son. "We want all of the kids to develop the work ethic that it takes to succeed in life not only in basketball."
Brooks said it’s important to keep the players focused and remind them there is still a lot of work ahead if they want to take basketball to the next level.
"You have to let them know that when they stop working, someone else will continue to work and get better," he said. "The time you are taking off lollygagging and not practicing, you are putting yourself behind your peer group."
Brooks credits the success of the Kings to the players but added the organization has flourished thanks to president Jessie Fleming, the volunteer coaches and the guidance of former professional player Tico Brown.
"I really want to give Jessie kudos because he is instrumental in the development of these kids," Brooks said. "He has a training skill that is unparallel. The commitment he has toward the kids and to care for the kids the way he does is phenomenal. Coach Tico Brown is instrumental in the way he came in and developed the drills and training and his advice is important toward the development of these kids."
The 13U, 14U, 16U and 17U teams are at the Peach State Showcase in Augusta this weekend. They were set to play Saturday morning against the Jacksonville Lee Bulls and later face the Atlanta Knicks.
"We feel we have a great up-and-coming seventh- and eighth-grade class in Malcolm Dingle, Krenwick Sanders, Jeremiah Bacon, Miguel Pineda and Jovan Golden," Brooks said. "We are taking them to see how they fare in that 14U age division. The is the NCAA live period, which means all the college coaches and scouts can be in the gym, so this is a showcase event for up-and-coming freshmen through junior class."