Dillon Brooks. Basketball villain, aspiring boxer?
After Dillon Brooks was ejected from the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals between Canada and Slovenia, he waited for his teammates in the hallway heading to the dugout. He was wearing boxing gloves.
Brooks has always embraced his villain role in the NBA. And on Wednesday night, with a Filipino crowd overwhelmingly cheering in adoration of Slovenia's Luka Doncic, the 27-year-old Canada forward was met with boos right off the bat.
In eliminating Spain on their way to the quarterfinals, Brooks had a breakout game of 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block. Against Slovenia, he knew his role was to lock down the tournament top scorer, Luka Doncic.
Brooks made 14 points, along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal in that ball game before he got a disqualifying foul with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter. Just a few seconds later, Doncic got kicked out too.
Before the game, Brooks told reporters in the morning that they had to tire out Doncic for four quarters. At the same time, Brooks shared how coach Jordi Fernandez was teaching him how to control his emotions.
With his ejection though, Brooks got a sharp reprimand from his coach.
"He has to be better. We need him on the court, he cannot get disqualified. We gotta have better composure as a team," Fernandez told reporters in the postgame press conference.
But the tactician also gave Brooks his praise.
"I think he's the best defender with Lu Dort, the best perimeter defender in the competition," he added.
Brooks' teammates were quick to agree.
"Super big. We got stops," Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said of Brooks after the game.
"He's strong, tough, physical," described Kelly Olynyk.
Doncic admitted he got frustrated with the officiating during the game, but he acknowledged Brooks' efforts.
Fans couldn't get over the battle either.
For coach Jordi though, it was a masterclass. Brooks fulfilled his role as Canada will be heading towards its first FIBA World Cup semifinals.
"I think today was a defensive clinic, showing his hands, pressuring full court. And if you don't think that way, then you don't like basketball."
Canada will take on Serbia in the FIBA World Cup semifinals at 4:45 p.m. You can watch the games on One Sports, One Sports+, and the Pilipinas Live app.