A few minutes with … Alvin Brooks III

Alvin Brooks III hasn’t been in Manhattan long. When the new Kansas State assistant coach told Bruce Weber he would be joining his staff last week, the first thing he did was hit the recruiting trail.

It wasn’t until Tuesday that he finally flew into town and unpacked his bags. He can already tell he’s going to like his surroundings, though. The former Sam Houston State assistant has been working hard for years to reach this level. He started off as a player in junior college before transferring to Idaho State. Then, six months out of school, he decided he didn’t like the career he had planned for himself as a financial adviser. So he got into coaching at the juco level and began working his way up.

He comes to K-State with eight years of college coaching experience. Though he has never coached in a conference similar to the Big 12, he knows someone who has. His father, Alvin Brooks II, is a former Houston head coach and has served as an assistant at Texas-El Paso, Texas A&M and Kentucky. He currently works as an associate head coach at Houston under James Dickey.

About one hour after viewing his K-State office for the first time, Brooks III was nice enough to talk about all that and more. Here are a few of the highlights:

How long have you known Bruce Weber, and what appealed to you about Kansas State?

I knew him because when I was at Bradley we recruited the same areas. I talked to him a lot on the road. I knew him and Coach (Chris) Lowery from when I was at Bradley. Coach Weber is a good person, but also a good coach. Coach Lowery is the same. The tradition you guys have here, and the fan base … I had no idea the fan base was like it is. It’s just a great opportunity. I think it will be a really good challenge.

One of the first things Weber said when he got here was that he wanted to bring in an assistant who could recruit Texas. I’m guessing you’re that guy. What’s your philosophy on recruiting the Lone Star State?

First off, it’s a huge state. I think it’s going to be fun recruiting the state just because it’s huge. There are a lot of players there. It’s even better now because more and more schools are recruiting Texas because of the reputation that it has lately. I think the biggest thing is just using the relationships I already have and building on more that I will gain. At Kansas State, it will be a place to talk to them about and their recent exposure. I think it will be fairly easy to get in the door. I’ll just have to do the rest from there.

Is it any harder to recruit Texas now that SMU and Houston are headed to the Big East?

I wouldn’t say harder, but I would say it’s more challenging. You have a lot of teams down there, even North Texas that moved up a league to Conference USA. It will definitely be a challenge, but the state is so big there are plenty of players to go around. I can’t say exactly what I’m going to tell them, because I don’t want it to be used against me, but we have a major advantage here that will help us with a lot of kids in Texas.

When you were at Sam Houston State, did you recruit the majority of your players from Texas?

Yeah, but I was only there two years. The majority of the kids are from Texas, but not all of them. I’m not just a Texas recruiter. I have relationships in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Las Vegas and of course Illinois, because I was there. Really, I’m all around the country … Alabama. I have relationships everywhere. It’s not just Texas, but it is a big enough state where if you only had Texas ties you would probably be OK.

Has it been easier to get a kids attention now that you’re representing K-State as opposed to a smaller school from a smaller conference?

Well, to be honest I don’t know yet, because Thursday was the day I accepted the job. Friday I was on the road watching kids in the gym. I watched Friday, Saturday and Sunday … But I will tell you kids look at you a little differently when you have a Kansas State polo on compared to other schools.

What’s your relationship like with your dad?

He’s one of my best friends. He’s one of the main reasons I am here today because he has taught me, even indirectly, a lot about recruiting, relationships and how to treat people. We sit down a lot and talk X’s and O’s, just watching games. Well, not just watching games but being a student of the game. He has helped me tremendously.

On the court, do you see yourself coaching guards or post players at K-State?

Wherever they need me. I’ve coached guards before. At Sam Houston State I coached bigs the majority of the time. But I played as a guard. So it’s really wherever I can help.

How much do you plan on recruiting junior colleges here?

You have to have a mixture of both (high school and juco). I played junior college and coached junior college and have a lot of relationships in junior college, but at this level I don’t know that you can live off of junior college players.

Who is the best player you have ever coached?

So far, there are probably two I would say. It’s a tie. Nathan Jawai, who I coached when I was at Midland Junior College. He ended up leaving us Christmas time to go play professionally in Australia and ended up with the Minnesota Timberwolves for a while. Sonny Weems, my first year coaching he was a freshman, then he went to Arkansas and played for the Toronto Raptors.