BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Among Virginia Tech’s graduates this year that officially earned their diplomas this weekend was women’s basketball guard Kendyl Brooks, who completed her degree in human development.
The daughter of head coach Kenny Brooks was the only four-year senior on this year’s team.
“Kendyl has really helped build the foundation to get to where we are today,” junior guard Aisha Sheppard said. “She came in here with her dad, from JMU and they both had a lot to go through to get to this point. So Kendyl is really a reason why we’re in this position now.”
For as long as there’s been a Kenny Brooks at Virginia Tech, there was always his daughter Kendyl, who tried her best to avoid being seen as the coach’s favorite. In many ways, she wanted her dad to be tougher on her.
“We kinda made some rules for each other,” Kendyl Brooks said in a 2018 interview with WFXR News. “On the court, he is always coach unless I ask for dad. And at home, he’s always dad unless I ask for coach. Sometimes when me and him are talking, it’s hey I’m not talking to coach right now, I’m talking to dad okay. So if we go on the court, you can’t think you can’t talk about it, you can’t use it against me.”
In her first three seasons, Kendyl was able to shine away from the shadow of being the coach’s daughter, owning the program record for three-pointers by a freshman before ranking fifth all-time in program history with 160 triples. She was poised to be a major contributor in her senior year.
“She’s probably logged the most minutes out of anyone that was returning,” Kenny Brooks said of his daughter last October. “A three-year veteran that’s played valuable minutes for us with a team that’s relatively young and inexperienced and new.”
That’s why it was devastating for the Hokies when she couldn’t take the floor this past season. Kendyl was due to have an exploratory surgery on her hip that she had previously repaired. But doctors found that she had re-torn it.
“It hurts me that she couldn’t play her senior year,” Sheppard said. “But the fact that she’s a coach from the bench and sees things and is able to help us, it really has propelled us throughout the season.”
Kendyl’s presence remained as the Hokies completed their best season in ACC play with 11 league wins. Her achievements make it hard to believe that her original path was to play for her dad at James Madison before he was hired at Virginia Tech in 2016.
“I’m very proud of her, the way she’s handled this whole thing,” Brooks said in a postgame press conference in February. “When she told me she wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, as a father that makes me feel good. Sometimes you try to steer your kids in certain directions, what I had for her, what she was built for. I pulled the rug from under her and made her come here.”
Virginia Tech was set to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament this year, which would’ve been the Hokies’ first appearance in 14 years. Yet another opportunity denied for Kendyl.
Said Kenny Brooks: “But she’s done a great job and I’m very proud.”