Keion Brooks (21) played basketball at Wright State for Ed Schilling, who now, as an assistant to former Dayton coach Archie Miller at Indiana University, is helping to recruit Keion Brooks Jr., the top sophomore in Indiana. FILE PHOTO
Photo: Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell

SPORTS DAILY: Here’s why Archie Miller recruited Ed Schilling

What a pair they must make on the recruiting trail, former Dayton coach Archie Miller and former Wright State coach Ed Schilling combing the countryside for basketball talent.

Call it a Gem City Jam road trip — two guys working together who once ran crosstown programs at schools that wouldn’t play each other.

But that’s not where the connection ends between Miller, the new Indiana coach, and his assistant, Ed Schilling, who was recently poached from UCLA.

They have jumped into the recruiting pool for 6-foot-7 forward Keion Brooks Jr., a five-star stud at Fort Wayne North Side and supposedly the top sophomore in Indiana. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because his father, a 6-3 guard, was Schilling’s best player at Wright State for two seasons in the late 1990s.

Before Miller and Schilling arrived at Indiana, Brooks reportedly had been leaning toward Michigan State or Purdue because previous coach Tom Crean had not shown him much love. Now IU is said to be very much in the picture.

Brooks announced Thursday he has received an offer from Indiana.

No guarantee it will pay off in championships, but let’s just say Miller knew what he was doing when he made Schilling one of his first recruiting targets.

Another former Schilling player, Vernard Hollins, could help with Brooks and steer even more talent Indiana’s way. The sixth-leading scorer in Wright State history, Hollins runs the Always 100 Basketball Academy, which “conducts pro-level, high-intensity group and individual workouts with youth, high school, and collegiate level athletes,” according to Hollins’ website.

Hollins followed Brooks to Wright State after succeeding him at North Side. Sense a theme here?

Schilling, who has coached in high school, college and the NBA, knows talent. Perhaps more importantly, he knows everybody. Especially in Indiana, where he grew up and not long ago was guiding Park Tudor High School to consecutive Indiana state championships with such players as Dallas Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell and Xavier’s Trevon Blueitt, another NBA prospect.

If you remember Schilling from Wright State, you recall a six-year ride that wasn’t the smoothest. After some early stumbles, the Raiders seemed to turn a competitive corner in years three and four of Schilling’s tenure only to see the program regress into the abyss of irrelevance.

It was Schilling’s inability to recruit to Wright State that ultimately led to his firing. He couldn’t keep pace with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Butler and others back then, even with all his Indiana ties.

But he had a positive impact on those who did take the Wright State plunge. What sticks with me is how transfers such as Jesse Deister, Cain Doliboa and Seth Doliboa, all noteworthy Midwestern mid-major players, said they wished they could have spent their entire college careers with Schilling.

Keion Brooks Jr., if as good as advertised, won’t spend more than a year or two in college, but the list of those who have coached a player and his son can’t be long.

It would be something if Brooks were to become a Hoosier.

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