Standing at 6-foot-7, Hopewell forward DeMon Brooks towers over most of his high school peers and also is the tallest player on the Titans squad.
After making an early commitment to play for Howard University, Brooks has set his sights on accomplishing the goals of a team that has high expectations this year.
"Thirteen guys coming together for a common goal is just a beautiful thing," Brooks said. "My senior year is all about having fun, enjoying my teammates and hopefully winning a state championship."
Hopewell, which is ranked No. 1 in the Observer's Sweet 16 poll, has a ton of blossoming talent on the floor. Brooks, 17, says his job on a team with such lofty expectations is to work hard and own the paint.
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"They come in every day and work hard," Hopewell head coach Eric Davis said. "I tell them all the time that I can't coach effort. It's my job to make them better. They're a group of kids that really enjoy playing together."
With players like point guard Earl McLaurin and fellow forward Jordan Downing, two guys who should also be playing Division I basketball, Brooks is not expected to shoulder as much of the load as he might at another school.
The Titans have to work hard in what is arguably the toughest basketball conference in the state.
The newly formed I-Meck 4A conference boasts some of the best talent in the state. With the amount of Division I prospects Brooks and his teammates see every game, rest is never an option.
"It's good because if you're in another conference, you might look at the schedule and think you can take a night off," Brooks said. "But in the I-Meck, you have to get up for every game," said Brooks.
Despite all the accolades and drama that comes with playing basketball in this area, Brooks is kept humble by the calming influences that surround him every day.
"If I'm a college coach, I want high character kids in my program, and that's the No. 1 thing you're going to get from him," Davis said. "He's the type of kid that will run through a wall for you."
Brooks credits his mother and pastor for being the steady hands that help guide him in the right direction. When he needs to get away from the game, he can always go to them to talk about whatever is on his mind.
Brooks says he chose Howard not just for basketball, but also because he wants to be an engineer. His family and those closest to him thought it best to pick a school that presented opportunities for him to excel in both of these fields.
"They don't let me get a big head," Brooks said. "The recruiting kind of stressed out my mom a bit, but it made me sit down and try to figure out my outlook on life and what I wanted to get out of the whole experience."
Brooks, who averages more than 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, will factor in hugely as the Titans chase a state title. But his demeanor, smile and all-around attitude are more impressive.