Dillon Brooks, Canada's Most Valuable ''Villain''
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Dillon Brooks has been the talk of the town since his breakout game against Spain in the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
He played a crucial role in Canada's victory over the defending champions with 22 points. Maybe even more meaningful, his defense and his heart turned the game around against a well-oiled Spanish offense. Brooks' performance has not only put Canada in the Quarter-Finals running but also officially propelled them into the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Dillon Brooks at the World Cup
Brooks' impact on this do-or-die game was so impressive that Canada's star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander called it "one for the books." Shai has offcialy found his lieutenant.
"It was special. One for the books. He's a leader. He does the right things on the basketball floor. He plays with the right energy," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "Obviously, he's a guy you always want on your team. Things haven't been going his way the whole tournament, but he's always doing the right things for the team. He was rewarded tonight by the basketball gods. He was big that 4th quarter, made shots, played defense like he usually does. He was ready for the moment big time."
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Brooks' reputation as a bit of a villain on the basketball court precedes him. He is known for his aggressive playing style and trash-talking, which often gets under the skin of his opponents. However, his teammates and coaches appreciate his playing style and consider him a leader on the court.
Coach Jordi Fernandez praised Brooks, saying, ""Dillon he helped take us home. It was one of those special moments."
That villain persona is something Brooks himself relishes. He doesn't mind it as long as he gets the job done for his team, especially after he has had a number of struggles this past year.
"Coming off a tough year with my whole squad, it was great having a refresh with Canadian blood," Brooks said. "Guys who believe in me, who trust in me. We figured out how to win this game in a great fashion. Now we made a lot of Canadians proud and when we figure out how to win this gold it's gonna be a great welcoming."
"Making the Olympics has been my dream ever since I touched Team Canada at U16."
Brooks' ability to make shots, play defense, and lead his team has made him a formidable opponent for any squad out there. Next up is Slovenia.
"I just trusted myself. My teammates had trust in me. We made the plays and we figured out how to do it on the defensive end. We were smaller, we were grittier, we wanted it badder," he said.
His tenacity has made him an invaluable asset to the Canadian team. With Brooks on their side, Canada has a good chance of advancing deep in the next round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 and making their dream of finishing on the podium a reality.