'Selfless' Eli Brooks poised to set another Michigan basketball record

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks has already passed former teammate Zavier Simpson for one of Michigan’s all-time program records.

Heading into Thursday's matchup against No. 3 Purdue, Brooks is set to surpass Simpson for another milestone. With his expected start, Brooks will become Michigan’s career games leader and will set a new mark with 147 games played.

Michigan's Eli Brooks drives to the basket past Michigan State's Gabe Brown in the first half Saturday.

Simpson played in 146 games during his four-year career from 2016-20. Brooks, who took advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, will likely smash that number. Since the 2019-20 season, Brooks has started in 78 of Michigan’s 80 games, missing one contest with a broken nose and another with a foot injury.

Earlier this season, Brooks became the program’s all-time winningest player when he picked up his 109th win on Nov. 24 against Tarleton State, topping the previous mark set by Jon Teske and Simpson. Brooks is sitting at 117 career wins, a total that likely won’t be broken anytime soon.

“He's selfless in so many ways,” coach Juwan Howard said after Tuesday’s win at Penn State. “He's smart, he's a competitor and his teammates can trust them. He's one of the best leaders that I've been around, and I've been around sports for a very long time.

“Whenever he leaves Michigan, he has a chance to play on the next level. The next level could be professionally in the NBA as well as in Europe because a coach is going to see all the intangibles that he brings that results to winning basketball.”

From left, Michigan's Eli Brooks (55) and Hunter Dickinson (1) react in the second half.

Brooks is closing in on several other milestones. He’s 29 points away from becoming the 56th Wolverine to reach 1,000 career points. He needs four more 3-pointers to become the 15th Michigan player to make at least 150 deep balls. He’s also 10 starts away from reaching 100 in his career.

Given Michigan is scheduled to play at least 10 more games this season — nine regular-season contests and one Big Ten Tournament game — it’s a safe bet that Brooks, who is averaging a career-high 11.9 points per game, will check off all those achievements.

“Him coming back for his fifth year, everything is the first of the last for him,” assistant coach Saddi Washington said on Monday’s “Inside Michigan Basketball” radio show. “I think Eli has done a great job embracing this long walk toward the end. Hopefully we can extend that as long as possible for him and for our other seniors.”

Slam dunks

Michigan’s game at Iowa will not be moved from its Feb. 17 date and will be played as originally scheduled, according to a program spokesperson.

Reports earlier this week indicated that the contest was going to be moved up two days to Tuesday to accommodate rescheduling efforts of previously postponed games and other changes to the Big Ten schedule.

… Saturday’s home game against Ohio State will be a “blue out” and 10,000 rally towels will be distributed at Crisler Center.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins