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Kickapoo basketball star Anton Brookshire: 'Mizzou is the perfect place for me'

Wyatt D. Wheeler
Springfield News-Leader
The Kickapoo Chiefs celebrate after they beat the Republic Tigers during Class 5 sectionals at the O'Reilly Family Event Center on March 6, 2019. Star player Anton Brookshire, going into his senior year, has committed to play for Mizzou.

Five years ago, Anton Brookshire was riding in a car with his uncle on the way back from a basketball tournament in Milwaukee. 

His uncle, Rob Yanders, was his coach. He didn't play Brookshire in the final game of the tournament. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"If you wanna play, you gotta be good enough because it's not just about you," Yanders said. "For me, I thought that was a lesson."

More:'He's the toughest kid I know': After losing his mom, Anton Brookshire never missed a game

幸运飞艇跟人工计划With a tear in his eye, Brookshire asked the magic question:

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"What do I have to do to get better? How could I get a chance to get on the floor?"

"365 days," Yanders responded.

"365 days?"

"Yeah, 365 days of work, pain, sweat, tears; that's what it takes. You have to work to get better and consistently get better. A lot of people can do that, Anton, but if you want to be special, special is what the others are not willing to do."

Kickapoo's Anton Brookshire looks for an open teammate against Helias in Springfield on November 29, 2018.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Brookshire took that to heart.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划After that began the 5 a.m. wake-up calls to go to the gym. One-a-days turned into two-a-days. Countless hours were spent on the court.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Brookshire earned the right to be Kickapoo High School's starting point guard as a freshman. He became a winner and an all-state performer. Most recently, he led the Chiefs to the Final Four. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划And, now, that hard work will lead him to the University of Missouri.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Surrounded by friends and family on Wednesday night, Brookshire called Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin to commit to the Tigers. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"I'm extremely blessed," Brookshire said in a phone interview with the News-Leader on Thursday.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Brookshire, a 6-foot-0 guard, picked Mizzou over offers from Missouri State, Tennessee State, UW-Milwaukee, UNLV, Illinois-Chicago and Bradley. 

Kickapoo's Anton Brookshire drives to the basket against Helias in Springfield on November 29, 2018.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划He averaged 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists this past season for the Chiefs while leading them to the semifinals in Class 5 state tournament before it was canceled. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划His junior season saw him score 71 points in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions which included a 33-point outburst against national powerhouse Oak Hill while hitting 7-of-12 shots from 3-point range. 

It took just one day after receiving an offer from Martin for Brookshire to decide that he wanted to commit to Mizzou. He sat down with his family after receiving the offer and discussed what his next move should be. 

Brookshire said he always liked Martin and the rest of the coaching staff. He likes that it's not a far drive from his family, to go along with his love for the campus. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划He said he's always had the confidence that he'd be able to play at the Power 5 level. Brookshire has noticed himself getting stronger and he's always trusted the coaches around him. 

"(Martin) told me that if I come in and work hard, then I have a great chance at playing a very good amount," Brookshire, the first Mizzou 2021 commit, said. "As long as I come in and do my job, they'll do their job."

Kickapoo's Anton Brookshire during a game against the Guyer (Texas) Wildcats on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Hard work is something Brookshire has become accustomed to since growing up in Milwaukee. 

He took care of his mother from a very young age as she battled through lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease. He would get up and make her hot tea before he went to school. 

When he was in sixth grade, his mother called Yanders, her brother and a former Missouri State basketball player, and asked him to pick up his nephew so he could live with him in Springfield. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"When family calls, you go," Yanders said. "Milwaukee isn't the safest environment to grow up in. I wanted to give him a chance at a good life."

Brookshire moved to Springfield and eventually became a basketball star at Kickapoo High School. He's been the Chiefs' starting point guard his entire career and has always been regarded as one of the best players in the Springfield area. 

"We saw the talent and his ability early on in his high school career," Kickapoo head coach Mitch McHenry, a childhood Mizzou fan, said. "He's had the ability to go against top competition and Division I competition to show his craft and his work and he's been up to the challenge."

The Kickapoo Chiefs take on the Republic Tigers in a semifinal Gold Division game during the Blue and Gold Tournament at JQH Arena on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019.

During the state basketball tournament this past season, Brookshire lost his mom, Karen Bracken, to pneumonia. She had moved down to the Springfield area in recent years and was the person Brookshire was closest to. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Despite the pain, Brookshire never missed a day of practice, never missed a game and never missed a day of school as he shined and led his team to the state semifinals before its cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

He thought about his mom as he made his decision to play at Mizzou.

"Oh man, she would be screaming," Brookshire said. "She actually wanted me to go to Mizzou. She would be looking down smiling super hard right now."

幸运飞艇跟人工计划For the immediate future, Brookshire is focused on improving his game before he goes up to Columbia. Before then, he'd like to help Kickapoo win a state championship. 

Anton Brookshire and Karen Bracken

Brookshire's thankful for Yanders, McHenry and his family that have helped him get to this moment in his basketball career. 

For as much work as he's already put into the game, he knows a lot more will be needed when he gets to the next level. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"I've worked so hard to get there. It's all just a blessing," Brookshire said."I feel like Mizzou is the perfect place for me."

Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at wwheeler@w2qx66.cn or join the conversation on Twitter where his handle is @WyattWheeler_NL. You can also sign up for his free "Bears Beat" newsletter by subscribing on w2qx66.cn.

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