published Monday, January 9th, 2012

Brooks gives Gordon Lee a boost

Most high school coaches hope for the opportunity to have one special player during their coaching tenure.

Gordon Lee coach Ed Clendenen has had three of them. His latest standout, Daniel Brooks, could possibly be the best. He was last week.

Brooks averaged 26.3 points, nine assists and 5.3 steals, which included a masterful 36-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound, seven-steal performance Saturday against Mount Zion. That, paired with going over the 1,000-point plateau Friday night, was enough to earn him Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.

The 6-foot junior guard usually defends the other team's best player for the Trojans (9-6) on top of his offensive responsibilities. Clendenen said Brooks doesn't spend too much time on the bench.

"We sub him out maybe two to four minutes a night," the coach said. "It's usually towards the end of the first quarter so he can get a little time with the quarter break, but we need him out there because he's one of those special kids that makes everyone around him better, and those are rare."

Except maybe for Clendenen, who coached 2000 Class AAA Tennessee Miss Basketball Tenisha Gist while he was at McMinn County, as well as Grayson Chambers, who recently graduated from Gordon Lee. Brooks' performance Saturday was on par with those players' top games.

"I thought it was the best game he's played all year," Clendenen said. "We put 40 points on the board in the third quarter and he had 18 of those, with five of his assists. I know he had 36 points, but it felt like 18 because he ran the game so smoothly. He's a scoring point guard, but he gets us where we need to go."

The Gordon Lee coach said he feels pretty good about where his team is at this point in the season, with a 1-0 record in Region 6-A. The Trojans enjoyed an upset of eighth-ranked Mount Paran and have two losses to North Cobb Christian, both of whom are in the same sub-region.

"We've done pretty well so far," Clendenen said. "I feel we're in good shape to finish in the top four and make the state playoffs, but we're in a really tough region with a pair of top-10 ranked teams. I feel we'll have a good chance to be there if we continue to play hard."

And if Brooks continues to create masterpieces like the one he had Saturday.

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