The Most Important Things Zach Brooker learned at USC


Not many people have had the same basketball career path as Zach Brooker. Brooker began his career at Sierra Canyon School in elementary and continued until his junior year before transferring to Calabasas High School.

Brooker was a rising prospect in southern California coming into high school. Still, the influx of talent brought to Sierra Canyon each year to be patient and await his opportunity. Over his time at Sierra Canyon, Brooker played alongside generational talent and prospects. Some mentionable names include featured Marvin Bagley (Detroit Pistons) and several other Division 1 players, such as Cody Riley (UCLA), Remy Martin (Kansas/Arizona St.), Adam Seiko (San Diego St.), Devearl Ramsey (UCSB), and Terrence McBride (Rice/Cornell). His sophomore year continued with a new batch of transfers, including Duane Washington Jr (Indiana Pacers/ Phoenix Suns), Cassius Stanley (Indiana Pacers/ Detroit Pistons), Scotty Pippen Jr. (Los Angeles Lakers), and Christian Koloko (Toronto Raptors).

Brooker decided to transfer for his senior year of high school in 2019-2020. Brooker flourished with the Coyotes averaging in the high teens and helping them finish near the top of the Marmonte league with all-league and all-Ventura County honors.

Brooker will enter his junior year with the USC men’s basketball team. Brooker joined the Trojans last season and saw action in a January 24 game against Arizona State.

Brooker has been tested in various ways throughout his basketball journey and cites these three specific lessons as to why he is where he stands today.

1. Patience is a virtue

The waiting game is nothing unfamiliar to him. Brooker’s patience was tested throughout his high school year. He was constantly fighting for rotation minutes of a loaded back-to-back state championship team and doing whatever he could to stay on the court. Brooker thrived in his role, adding a punch off the bench and being a sparkplug for whatever his team needed. Knowing his teammates’ personnel and adding what was needed at the moment made Brooker successful in his role. Brooker is constantly trying to improve his game on the court and added, “I’m excited about this opportunity,” Brooker said. “I am doing the things necessary and making strides to improve my game. Whatever the results are, I’m happy and at peace knowing, I did things the right way in the right direction to make my dreams come true.”

2. Embrace the Opportunity

For Brooker, his time at Sierra Canyon was nothing short of something in his wildest dreams. Brooker began as an underclassman playing on a top nationally ranked basketball team consisting of general generational talent and NBA prospects. Year after year, it continued. Brooker continued to play among top players all around the country day after day all year long.

As Brooker became frustrated during his sophomore year at Sierra Canyon, he realized the opportunity presented in front of him. No other player at any other school in the world had the chance to go against future NBA players every day in practice. Learning the game and absorbing information was something that he gravitated towards, and using this as fuel and an opportunity to get better each day. Brooker believes that if it had not been for this period for his growth and development at Sierra Canyon, he wouldn’t be half the player he is today.

3. Just Keep Working

Brooker often established himself off on his work ethic as the underdog or overlooked. He decided if all else failed. He would at least know how to work hard and give his all to something. Brooker grew close with his high school coach and often spent many late nights in the gym together. He added. “Zach is a great kid and a hard worker,” Sierra Canyon asst. coach Chris Madden said. “When he puts his mind to something, he gets it done.”

Whatever your circumstances are, remember to be patient, embrace the opportunity in front of you, and continue to work hard.

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