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Sikeston's Hatchett signs with UMSL

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(Photo)
Sikeston's Janeil Hatchett signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Friday afternoon. Present for the signing were, front row, from left: Sheena Blackman, sister; John Hatchett, father, Janeil Hatchett; Brenda Hatchett, mother; (back row) Brian James, Sikeston assistant coach and Gregg Holifield, Sikeston head coach.
SIKESTON -- Surrounded by family and friends, Sikeston's Janeil Hatchett took his next step in his basketball career on Friday, signing a letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The 6-1 senior was a first team all-state performer, and helped the Bulldogs to a perfect 30-0 record and a Class 4 state championship. He also earned first team all-conference and all-region honors while averaging 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

"He really had a great senior year," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "He worked hard and deserves it. He really put together, in my opinion, a special season. He was consistent night in and night out plus on top of that he's a great student so it is a great opportunity for him."

UMSL and coach Steve Tappmeyer began to show interest in Hatchett after he had an impressive showing in the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament, earning all-tournament team honors. Hatchett said it was after his visit to the campus that he knew UMSL was the place he wanted to go.

"I really liked the campus, it isn't too far from home and I really liked the coaches," Hatchett said. "They're really nice and I've been talking to them over a period of time since the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament.

"When I went up, the try out went good and they made me feel real welcome and at home, like I had a spot to play there. I really think I will have a chance to play there."

Last season was the Tritons' first under Tappmeyer, who previously had a successful career coaching at Northwest Missouri State University. Under Tappmeyer, UMSL finished 16-11 and have quality players returning next year.

"I think it will be a perfect fit," Holifield said. "I think with his work ethic, they have a great program and coach and Janeil will fit in really well within their system."

Hatchett is no stranger to winning, helping the Bulldogs to a 75-8 record in his three years on the varsity team with three district and conference championships.

"Their coach is a winning coach and he wants players that come from winning programs and know how to win and work well with teammates and that is all we are about here in Sikeston," Hatchett said. "We work hard down here and that's what he likes."

An all-around athlete, Hatchett was also a standout on the football field, earning second team all-state honors as a wide receiver, while helping his team to a 13-1 record as a senior. He also earned first team all-conference, all-region and all-district honors, recording 909 yards on 38 receptions with 10 touchdowns.

"Janeil brings a real winning attitude to our program and as a staff, we couldn't feel any better about making him a part of our UMSL tradition," Tappmeyer said in a release. "His understanding of how to compete, as well as how to be a great teammate, is like no other we have seen.

"We will be asking Janeil to improve on his perimeter skills so he can play out on the perimeter for us, but his tremendous work ethic and drive will enable him to do so quickly. He comes from a great high school program, which we feel has prepared him to become a very successful college player."

Along with Hatchett, another UMSL signee is St. Francis Borgia's Ben Ruether, who the Bulldog senior has grown to know during his battles with him in the state playoffs. The Bulldogs defeated Ruether and the Knights in the Class 4 state championship game in March while losing to them the previous two seasons in the state quarterfinals.

"It is going to be fun," Hatchett said of playing with Ruether. "I can rub it in his face a little bit but he can also rub it in my face too. We will keep each other on task and work hard and be good teammates."


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