The annual Scott Brooks Golf Invitational kicked off this past Thursday at The Resort at Pelican Hill, which helped raise money for athletic scholarships.
Participants of the event had an opportunity to meet and golf with a number of current UCI coaches and student athletes.
The day’s festivities also included a silent auction, in which items such as a signed Kobe Bryant ball and Golden State Warriors tickets were up for grabs.
UCI alumnus and current Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks headlined the event as the host for the sixth time, and participants had the chance to interact with UCI coaches and student athletes throughout the day.
“I like the way the coach and three or four of the athletes are on each hole,” said Brooks. “They get to mingle with all the participants. It’s pretty cool; I’ve never seen it run that way. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but it wasn’t me. It’s a great touch.”
Brooks played at UCI from 1985-1987, averaging 23.8 points per game in his senior year. During the opening night of the Bren Events Center, Brooks scored a career-high 43, an arena record that still stands today.
“This is where it started for me. If it wasn’t for UCI and Coach Mulligan giving me an opportunity to continue my education and play basketball, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. I was youngest of seven. Not a lot of money in the family. Mother raised us all….so I needed an athletic scholarship, otherwise I would have never gone to college. This is where I’m proud of being an Anteater. We have a great university in one of the best places in the world to live, Orange County. Beautiful spot. I love coming back and giving back to the program.”
Brooks went on to play in the NBA from 1988-1998 for 6 different teams including the 1994 NBA Champion Houston Rockets before trying his hand at coaching.
He was head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008-2015, leading them to the NBA Finals in 2012 and winning NBA coach of the year award in 2010.
“I knew I wanted to play in the NBA as long as I could. Let’s face it: I didn’t think I would get a decade playing basketball. I knew if I wanted to stay in the game, I’d have to be a coach…I wanted to stay in the game that I loved. I tell everybody, playing is the best job in the world, coaching’s the second-best and writing about or talking about it is the third, if you love the game.”
After a one-year hiatus, Brooks is back coaching again this upcoming season for the Washington Wizards.
“The team excites me. We have a backcourt that could be one of the best two-way backcourts in the league, John Wall [and] Bradley Beal. And [we] got some young wing players that are really good and [we] have some bigs…the core is young enough to continue to improve the next four, five years. And I think we can improve in a lot of different areas.”