Posted Date: 11/15/2021
Karris Allen has already made her name known to the Sikeston basketball faithful. Now the senior will be looking to do the same at Western Kentucky University.
Allen, last year’s SEMO Conference Player of the Year, signed her letter of intent to play for Western Kentucky on Wednesday, making her the first from Sikeston’s girl’s basketball program to sign with a Division 1 school.
“That is a huge accomplishment for our program,” said Sikeston coach Alisha Wills. “Karris is very deserving though. She has worked so hard, especially since last season. She set out to obtain her goal of being a Division 1 player and she has definitely made that a reality. As Karris' coach, I could not be more proud of everything she has done for our program and the legacy she will leave behind. It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of this young lady's life and high school basketball career.”
Allen chose Western Kentucky over Southeast Missouri State University and said the Conference USA school just felt like home.
“I chose Western Kentucky because when I visited them for my official visit, it truly felt like a family,” Allen said. “I felt welcomed even before I stepped on campus.”
Allen said making the decision now can help her relax more on the court.
“I felt like every game would determine if I would get a scholarship or not,” Allen said. “When I got my scholarship offer there was pressure to perform well to keep my scholarship. Now that I've signed, I no longer feel as much pressure.”
While there may not be as much pressure, Allen’s drive to compete is second-to-none.
“Karris is an unbelievably gifted athlete,” Wills said. “She has an incredible amount of talent for basketball. She has a very high basketball IQ and motivation to be the best at her craft. I often find myself in awe of the things she accomplishes and performs on the floor.”
Wills said Allen is continuing to improve, and not only with her basketball skills.
“As we have started in our season practices I have also seen her really stepping into a leadership role,” Wills said. “She has been trying to help her teammates by helping encourage and motivate them.”
Allen does it all for the Bulldogs. The 5-10, small forward averaged 20.2 points per game for Sikeston last season, pulling down 9.7 rebounds and blocking 2.4 shots per game. She also dished out four assists a game and averaged over 3 steals a contest against a tough SEMO Conference schedule.
“Obviously she has been a huge asset to our offense,” Wills said. “Being named the leading scorer of the SEMO conference last year was a big accomplishment for her. She has also been a catalyst for getting things going when we needed a difference maker late in the game. Karris' love and passion for the game has really come to light this season and I can only hope that she will spark some of her teammates to find that love and put in the extra work it takes to be successful as well.”
Wills said with her skill set and work ethic Allen could be the missing piece for a Hilltoppers squad that finished 7-16 last year, losing several close games along the way.
“She will come in and do great things for their program and be an asset they will be glad to have,” Wills said. “Karris will be able to come right in and play at the college level without any trouble at all.”
Allen said she is excited to play at the next level.
“I think that college itself will be an adjustment but I know that we will all play well together,” Allen said. “I'm excited to be able to learn from them and to play at a higher level.”
Allen has scored over a 1,000 points in her career at Sikeston as she continues to improve each year. As freshman, Allen averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and those number increased to 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore, leading up to her stellar year last season.
She wants to continue to improve her game as she heads to the next level.
“I definitely think that I can improve in every aspect of my game,” Allen said. “No one is a perfect player. I think that as a student of the game, I need to continue evolving. I need to continue working on my craft and just be the best possible player I can be.”
As Allen looks toward college, she still has goals for this year as the Bulldogs open the season Nov. 20 at the St. Paul Lutheran Shootout, looking to improve on their 12-11 season last year.
“I want to thank my family, friends, coaches, and Bulldog Nation for always supporting and encouraging me to be the best that I can be,” Allen said. “It has truly been an honor to play for them and grow up in Sikeston.”