2021-22 Season

Inside Eli Brooks’ decision to return for a fifth year

Eli Brooks doesn’t like to think too far into the future. As his dad, James, puts it, he’s “all into whatever the moment is.”

So, until Michigan’s season-ending loss to UCLA on March 30, he hadn’t thought too much about what his future holds. In a normal season, Brooks — who’s played four full seasons in Ann Arbor — wouldn’t have much of a decision to make. But in October, the NCAA extended an extra year of eligibility to all athletes due to COVID-19, complicating the decision for those, like Brooks, who don’t have an obvious NBA future.

For Brooks, the decision came down to opportunity cost. A professional career, wherever that may take him can wait. But once he decides to leave college, that’s not coming back.

“My wife said it the best,” James said. “Don’t grow up faster than you have to.”

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