Kentucky junior forward Keion Brooks Jr. was tabbed the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats in scoring at 19.5 points per game in a pair of victories last week. He is the fourth UK player to earn an SEC weekly honor this season, but this marks the first such accolade of his career.
Brooks was sensational for Kentucky in a career performance on the road at No. 5 Kansas. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native scored a career-high 27 points and added eight rebounds as UK won 80-62 over the Jayhawks to help the SEC secure a 6-4 win in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
It marked his second 20-point performance of the season and the 10th double-figure scoring effort of the year. His ninth double-digit performance came earlier in the week as he scored 12 points in the overtime win over Mississippi State on Tuesday. Brooks had eight of his 12 points in the second half.
But, he took things to another level against the Jayhawks.
Brooks scored 15 straight points for UK at one point in the second half as the Wildcats staved off a Kansas rally that never got closer than 14 in the second half. He made 9 of 10 at the free-throw line, both career highs.
He scored the most points for UK against a top-five Associated Press opponent since Tyrese Maxey had 27 points against No. 3 Louisville on Dec. 28, 2019, in a 78-70 home victory. It was also the most points on the road for a Wildcat against a top-five team since Derrick Miller had 32 on Dec. 9, 1989, at No. 2 Kansas in a 150-95 loss. Finally, the 27 points were the most on the road in a UK victory against a top-five team since Fred Cowan had 27 on Feb. 14, 1980, at No. 5 LSU. Kentucky won 76-74 in overtime.
Brooks and the Wildcats put together one of the most impressive performances of the season in their victory over Kansas. It marked UK’s first win over a top-five AP ranked squad since defeating No. 1 Michigan State, 69-62, on Nov. 5, 2019. The last win over a top-five team in a true road game came on Dec. 27, 2014, when the Wildcats won at No. 4 Louisville, 58-50.
Kentucky’s 18-point victory marked the largest margin of victory in program history on the road against a top-five team and it was just the 16th loss in Allen Fieldhouse for the Jayhawks in 302 games under Bill Self.
The Wildcats have now earned eight SEC weekly awards this season. Sahvir Wheeler and Oscar Tshiebwe have each won SEC Player of the Week once and TyTy Washington Jr. has claimed five SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
Kentucky has dominated the weekly SEC awards with John Calipari at the helm. UK has won more weekly SEC honors (118) than any other school during the Calipari era, including 90 SEC Freshman of the Week awards and 28 SEC Player of the Week honors.