With the prestigious Hoophall Classic rolling through Phoenix, Arizona earlier this month, Pro Insight was on hand to catch all of the top teams and prospects in attendance, one being IMG Academy (FL) forward Khani Rooths. A DMV product, Rooths made the move from Georgetown Prep (MD) to IMG Academy prior to the start of the season to play in the NIBC, the conference with the highest concentration of talent in the United States. The 6’8” forward has adjusted to the level of competition seamlessly and provided IMG with a versatile piece alongside 2024 five-star Bryson Tucker, Maryland signee Jamie Kaiser, and future Georgia Tech guard Blue Cain, among others. Rooths possesses excellent two-way upside thanks to his intriguing combination of length, physical tools, and athleticism. At Hoophall West, the 2024 prospect was one of the top rim protectors, averaging 4.0 blocks in two games by leveraging his lanky wingspan and timing.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Rooths talked about his basketball background, watching his favorite players in LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, and Paul George, his recruitment update including being open to pro options, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Khani Rooths, from North Bethesda, Maryland:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about the transition to IMG Academy — how has it been so far?
Khani Rooths: I've enjoyed that a lot. I treat these guys like my brothers. We've been close since day one and [at IMG], I’ve been around athletes that want to go places with their game no matter the sport. It’s just an environment that you would really want to be in.
PI: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
KR: So I started really playing on the AAU circuit in like 3rd/4th grade, around there — that's when I started taking basketball seriously. My dad, he was really big in basketball. He went pretty far, tried out for the league a little bit, but it unfortunately didn't work out. His name is Charles Rooths. My granddad, he always coached women's basketball so he has a good knowledge of the game. AAU coaches…that’s when I started playing with New World on the Adidas circuit. I've been with them since day one and they’ve treated me like one of their own and they've been real with me by telling me what I need to do to get better at my game. Going to Georgetown Prep — it was a great environment. I just felt like I grew out of it. Got a chance to come to IMG — a great opportunity. I had to take it. Then we’re here now.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from your dad or granddad?
KR: They always tell me, “find ways to really affect the game.” Sometimes my shot is not going, get my teammates open, really be aggressive as much as I can and just show people that I’m him.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
KR: I played like every sport you can imagine for real. Really everything like tennis, swimming, baseball, football — everything.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
KR: My playstyle is just very versatile. I can shoot. I gotta get it way more consistent than it is right now for sure, but I can shoot. I can attack any man. I can guard anybody. I'm really good at help defense…I block shots and stuff, and I’m a good passer. I'm just very versatile.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
KR: I like watching LeBron, Jayson Tatum, Paul George. I like the way Paul George plays, how he lets the game come to him, but he can still take it over. How LeBron knows everything like his knowledge of the game and how he knows what his teammates are going to do, how he can just control the tempo and stuff like that. Jayson Tatum, how he can take his man anytime he wants to get a bucket anytime.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
KR: Short term goals just to be more aggressive, get to the line more, hit my free throws, and lock down everybody.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
KR: I like to go swimming, sometimes. I like to just chill, for real. We got a lot going on everyday, so in my downtime I like watching TV, watching Kai Cenat — that’s probably like the main guy I watch and then just hanging out with my team.
PI: What is your favorite TV show?
KR: I don’t really have a favorite TV show. Like I said, Kai Cenat is probably my favorite streamer.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
KR: NBA YoungBoy, for sure.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
KR: Dang, that's tough. #MrVersatile.
PI: What is your recruitment update? Who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
KR: Auburn, Maryland, Georgetown, Ohio State, and Georgia. That's pretty much it right now.
PI: Which schools are you hoping to visit in the near future?
KR: I want to visit as many places as I can, but I want to visit Georgia, Ohio State. The hometown ones are not really as big of a deal as much because when I'm home I can go there anytime. Anywhere there's an interest that's far geographically, I wanna visit.
PI: Do you have a dream school growing up?
KR: Nah, not really.
PI: There are a lot more alternative options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Would you be open to such opportunities?
KR: I'm open to everything.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
KR: Big factors are just a coach that really knows me, really gets his team into like a brotherhood. Real fun environment. A coach that knows how to keep it fun, but he’s still on your back and putting the battery in your back and that's pretty much it for real.
PI: Name two words that best describe you.
KR: Integrity and hard worker.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
KR: I hope to be remembered as a person, like somebody who brings joy to the team and somebody who has their team's back and would do anything for the win and as a guy that just gets it done, no matter what.