On the surface, Anton Brookshire’s decision-making process might appear brisk.
Early Tuesday evening, the Springfield Kickapoo product added a formal offer from Missouri. By Thursday morning, Brookshire announced via Instagram that he was in the fold for the Tigers, giving coach Cuonzo Martin his first pledge in the the 2021 recruiting class.
In reality, Martin’s steadily forged a relationship with the combo guard, who held offers from Missouri State, Tennessee State, and UNLV. While that list of suitors appears modest, several Big 12 programs had started putting out feelers to Brookshire this spring.
Brookshire averaged 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for Kickapoo, which reached the semifinals of the Class 5 state tournament before it was canceled this spring. While Brookshire’s shooting, especially off the bounce, is potent, he steadily expanded his mid-range toolkit as the season unfolded.
That was on full display during the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in early January.
Against nationally ranked Oak Hill Academy, Brookshire racked up 33 points, burying 7 of 12 3-pointers, and followed it up with a 20-point outing the next day against Christ the King. Over three games, Brookshire averaged 23.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, all while canning 44.4 percent of his attempts behind the arc.
Watch enough of Brookshire’s tape, and what stands out — beyond his quick release and seamless mechanics — is his deep range. The bulk of his attempts also come off the dribble, a deft tool that allows him to create adequate air space and get on balance. The fact he produced against top-flight opponents should also ease some concerns that it will translate at the high-major level.
Aside from his scoring prowess, Brookshire possesses the kind of tenacity Martin, who handled the bulk of the guard’s recruitment personally, values in his program.
Born in Milwaukee, he helped tend to his mother, Karen Bracken, as she battled lupus. In the sixth grade, Brookshire relocated to Springfield and lived with his uncle, Robert Yanders, a former Missouri State guard who owns an outfit called The Basketball Movement. Bracken eventually relocated herself, but sadly, she passed away in early March, the same day Kickapoo toppled Nixa to win a district title. Brookshire still suited up for the Chiefs and tallied 19 points in the victory.
For Missouri, Brookshire makes sense as an upside play and fills a looming need at combo guard. Brookshire’s shooting and ability to function as a secondary creator fit the Tigers’ needs, especially if MU’s offense moves towards using multiple ball-handlers. And while Brookshire is listed at 6-foot, he recently measured closer to 6-foot-2, signs that another growth spurt might take place.
Moving forward, the Tigers will still hunt for another prospect at Brookshire’s position, including prospects such as Tamar Bates, Jaden Akins, and Kobe Bufkin. Last year, Akins and Bates each took unofficial visits to Columbia. Meanwhile, Akins participated in a virtual tour last weekend.