Jordi Fernandez praised Dillon Brooks for his attitude and work ethic throughout the 2023 FIBA World Cup and said that the often-antagonized player is just like everybody else - dedicated and liked in the locker room.

Credit: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan - Scanpix
Credit REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan - Scanpix

Dillon Brooks is one of the most antagonizing players in basketball. There are always two camps - you either love him or hate him. During the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the Philippine fans went from booing him to chanting 'MVP'.

Dillon Brooks

Dillon  Brooks
Position: SF, SG
Age: 27
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 100 kg
Birth place: Canada

Brooks played a crucial role in the quarterfinal win against Slovenia, limiting Luka Doncic's offensive production. In the semifinal against Serbia, he was one of the best offensive producers despite the loss. In the bronze medal game against Team USA, Brooks went off for 39 points and helped bring the country its first-ever medal at the competition.

Led by Jordi Fernandez, an NBA assistant coach who was seen as one of the primary candidates to get the Toronto Raptors head coaching gig, Canada achieved history. At the same time, Dillon Brooks reminded everyone how good he can be.

"He came with the spirit of working and doing what was necessary for the team and the national team, [he came in] to have a good time and enjoy the experience," Fernandez said in an interview with Toni Canyameras from Mundo Deportivo.

"In the end, he's been improving as a player. I have only very positive words for him at all levels: offensively, defensively, as a player, worker, teammate," the coach continued. "I've tried to get to know him and establish a good relationship. This is a very beautiful and coachable group, and when you establish this connection and relationships, there are positive moments."

After the ultimate game, Brooks was named the best defender of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He finished the tournament with averages of 15.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

Despite the success on the court, Brooks had his moment of fame off the court. When he was ejected for receiving his second technical foul against Slovenia, he put on boxing gloves and shadow-boxed while waiting for his teammates in the hallway.

Jordi Fernandez, however, had nothing but good words about the player.

"[He's] excellent. He is nothing more than a normal person who comes in and is very professional," the coach said. "He takes good care of himself [and does] all the work to be 100% ready to play. His work in the gym, the things he does on his own - he is a superb professional."

"Inside the locker room, he connects with his teammates, everyone respects him. He is like the rest of the group, he is nothing out of this world. He is one of the best competitors I have ever seen, and on the entire court, not only defensively, where he has superpowers, but he's shown offensively that he can not only score but also be efficient with the quality of the shots," Fernandez explained.

Before the World Cup, Brooks signed a four-year $86 million contract with the Houston Rockets. He will try to replicate the same things he did for the national team in the NBA.

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