Tanner Brooks graduated college in 2016 from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and now plays professional basketball in Ireland for the oldest basketball club, Neptune BC. He attended Skidmore College for his first two years of college, where he was a standout on the basketball team from the minute he stepped on the court. At Skidmore, Tanner was named Liberty League All-Rookie Team, Liberty League Honorable-Mention, and Liberty League Rookie of the week four times. Tanner then transferred to St. Mary’s College of Maryland for his junior and senior years where he went on to become Second Team All-CAC as well as a team captain and a member of SAAC.
2aDays: What was the main wow factor that you were looking for when you were looking at colleges?
When looking for a college the main wow-factor was the relationship I had with the guys on the team. Throughout my visits and overnights I was really interested to see how I would fit in with the team and what the other guys were like (especially the younger guys who I would be playing with). Your college teammates can make or break your experience and I was lucky enough to go to two colleges with awesome teammates that I will be friends with for life.
2aDays: What do you do to get your head in the zone before a game?
Before games, I have a specific basketball ball handling workout that I like to do which takes about 15 minutes and is my way of getting focused in on the game. It’s one of my favorite workouts and it helps me stay loose and get ready to play. I take this time to zone out everything else going on in my life and put my focus purely on basketball and the game at hand. Once that is over, I usually read over the scouting report again to make sure I am fully prepared and ready to go.
2aDays: What was the moment you realized that you wanted to transfer from Skidmore College?
The decision to transfer from Skidmore College was an extremely difficult decision for me that accumulated over a period of time, rather than just a realization at one moment. I truly enjoyed my two years at Skidmore and met some incredible people that I am still close with today. During my Sophomore year I realized that Skidmore was not the place for me for many different reasons. While it was really tough to leave and not spend my last two years of college with all the people I had met there, I had great finish to my college career at St. Mary’s College and wouldn’t change it for anything.
2aDays: What was your overall experience with your basketball coach at St. Mary’s College?
Overall I had a positive experience with my Basketball Coach at St. Mary’s College. He and I had a mutual respect for each other which allowed us to challenge one another in a healthy manor on and off the court. We are both extremely passionate people which led to a lot of intensity and growth throughout my two years there.
2aDays: What is one thing you wish you knew when being recruited in high school?
The one thing I wish I knew when being recruited was to not get frustrated. For me, the overall recruiting process was more of a stressful experience than it should have been. I got so frustrated with answering and returning phone calls that I didn’t enjoy the overall process and opportunity as much as I should have. Instead of taking the time to realize how lucky I was to be recruited by many schools, I let all the phone calls and emails annoy me rather than taking it as a compliment.
2aDays: What is the best piece of advice that you can give high school athletes about the recruiting process?
The best piece of advice I would give athletes being recruited is to take your time with the process and enjoy every minute of it. Take pride in the fact that schools are interested in you and enjoy the process of deciding where to go. It can be overwhelming at times, but the key is to remember how lucky you are to have the opportunity. One thing that really helped me was making lists. After every visit I would make a list of all the pros and cons of that specific school so I would remember all the details between visits.
2aDays: What was your motivation to play basketball after college?
Ever since I was little, I had always wanted to play basketball after college, and once I finished my senior year I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. Another major reason is my love for travel. I knew I would have a chance to play after college and wanted to take this as an opportunity to travel the world and see different places/ experience different cultures. Basketball has given me the perfect opportunity to do that.
2aDays: What were your top three choices for places to play after college?
It wasn’t so much of me picking Ireland as much as it was Ireland picking me. After my college career was over, I planned on taking the summer to pursue a basketball career overseas by talking to agents and attending showcase camps. However, a friend of mine who played at Maryland had discussed with me his time playing in Ireland and the program he did it with. I quickly applied and was lucky enough to be selected as a Victory Scholar with the Sport Changes Life Foundation. This is a program designed to help the youth of Ireland that selects elite student-athletes to play professional basketball in Ireland while attaining their Masters Degree and working with kids. I had planned on trying to play basketball in Europe after graduation, but had never thought about pursuing a Masters Degree as well. So when the opportunity arose to have my Masters Degree paid for and getting a chance to play on a professional team in Ireland while helping youth through basketball, I was extremely excited.
2aDays: How do you think Locker Room Talk could have helped you in the recruiting process?
It definitely would have been great to get such quality advice of others who have been through it and being able to hear their stories. It’s such a complicated, overwhelming process and having somewhere to learn more about it would have been a big help.
2aDays: You mentioned that you would be interested in coaching college basketball at some point. What is your motivation for this future goal?
Coaching college basketball has always been a dream of mine because I love being around the game. I hope to play for as long as I can but I don’t think I will ever be able to give it up completely and think coaching is a great way to keep that passion alive. I have coached kids all my life and I’m lucky enough to coach and work with awesome kids while I am over here in Ireland. Coaching at all levels and ages has been an incredibly rewarding experience that I hope to stay apart of for as long as I can.
2aDays: What is your go-to meal before a game?
Before a game I like to either eat pasta with chicken or a sandwich/sub. I’ve found some cool local sandwich shops over here in Ireland that I like to go to before games, but if that’s not open (the store opening hours are really weird over here) then I will just get Subway.
2aDays: What type of locker room talk happens in your locker room before a game?
Our locker room before a game is pretty much all tactical. We watch about 10 minutes of film and then discuss the scouting report and our plan for the game. In college, my locker room was a more intense, pump-up type of locker room. We spent time talking about the game plan but always found a way to get ourselves excited and pumped up to play.
2aDays: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened in your locker room?
The funniest thing that happened in our locker room was our manager after big wins. He was a huge part of the team and got just as/if not more excited about a big win than anyone. He was a pretty quiet and reserved guy so whenever he broke down our huddle in the locker room with a yell after a big win or showed off his dance moves it was always a good laugh.
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* Originally published on October 22, 2016, by Annie Weis