Despite the school year being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joplin High School wanted to give a pair of basketball athletes the chance to celebrate a monumental achievement.
On Thursday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium, Dakarai Allen and Tommy Hafer each signed letters of intent to play basketball at the collegiate level.
“Given the situation, we’ve known for a little where these guys were going to go, but we wanted to give them, their family and their friends an opportunity to come to the gym and get their due,” Joplin basketball coach Jeff Hafer said. “Both of these guys have put in a lot of work over a long period of time to earn the opportunity to continue their playing career and their education. This is great, and I am so thankful for our administration to allow us to do this. It makes for a nice memory for these kids, and they both deserve it.”
Allen, who spent his senior season with the Eagles, signed on to play at Lewis and Clark Community College. Allen averaged 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assist, two steals a block per game as a senior. He was a second-team all-area and all-Central Ozark Conference selection, while earning first-team all-district honors.
“This is really exciting,” Allen said. “This was my last year in high school, and I had a great time playing for Joplin High School. I am thankful Lewis and Clark picked me up so I can continue playing. … I couldn’t visit the campus because of the pandemic, but I did a virtual tour and the campus is beautiful. It looks like a DI campus. Their style of play fits me, so that is another reason I decided to go there.
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