All-Stars on and off the court: Illinois and Missouri basketball players become role models

They were picked to represent their high school and state because of their play on the basketball court,but make no mistake, the recently graduated seniors in tomorrow’s McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic are just as good off the floor.

The names of old are still seared into their brains as if they just watched them yesterday.

"DeAngelo Dean, Jason Salrin.

I remember them coming to our elementary schools and doing stuff with us and then last year to be able to go that ourselves as seniors is pretty cool," said Quincy’s Ben Amos.

Canton’s Olivia Jarvis said, "Tori Niemann probably the most at Canton. She always worked hard at everything she did."

And the all-stars found out early on what their skills and their names meant to the community.

"The first time you step into the gym as a freshman, getting that talk with Coach (Andy) Douglas, you learn that it’s not just basketball.

You have a different responsibility. It’s a different tradition there.

So many people, not only your family, not only your coach, but people in the community expect you to be a little bit more than a basketball player," said Quincy’s Aaron Shoot.

"It’s a small community and you’re going to see them out and about and they were always really good to me and said oh hey how are you.

That just makes a little kids day. That stuck with me and I try and do it back now and try and be the best role model I can," said Darian Drake’s Brown County.

Come Saturday night all the action’s going to be taking place at QU’s Pepsi Arena. But just like those before them these all-stars impact on their schools and on their communities goes far beyond just what they did on the hardwood.

"Younger kids that are going to be at this game have looked up to these guys no matter what school they’re from.

They’ve seen them on TV. So they get to set the bar even higher for the next group next year and the group 20 years from now.

They get to be that role model that people look up to and people say hey I remember this kid playing for Quincy high or QND or Payson or whoever it might be," said Western’s Curtis Stout.

With great power comes great responsibility and these All-Stars have handled that responsibility as everyone could’ve hoped. 

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