2022-23 Winter Preview: Joplin Boys Basketball


By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

Bronson Schaake is entering his second season at Joplin, coming off of a 19-8 campaign.

While the Eagles must replace the production of All-COC guard Always Wright, Joplin does have the added benefit of a second season in Schaake’s system.

“Always was an all-around player for us, on both ends. We relied on him to handle the ball, create, score, and guard the other team’s best player. Most importantly was his work ethic; he would spend hours every day, outside of practice just working on his game. I think younger players saw this and realized they must do the same.

“Things should be somewhat easier because they understand my coaching style, approach, and expectations. The increased level of comfort should equate to increased production at all levels.”

However, Joplin returns as much athleticism and talent as anyone in the Ozarks, with three starters back in the mix — all have big-time potential.

Junior All Wright is one of the top players in Missouri, currently holding offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Southeast Missouri State.

The 6-foot-3 guard is an elite scorer and entering his third season as a starter and is expected to take yet another major step forward.

“He has become much more explosive, seems to be dunking easier than last year (which is expected), and seems to have put on more muscle,” said Schaake. “This will allow him to create more and be able to absorb contact, guard, and rebound.”


Senior Terrance Gibson also returns for the Eagles. The 6-foot-5 forward is one of the best athletes in the Ozarks and a Division One prospect on the gridiron. Juniors Quin Renfro and Whit Hafer are in the same mold. Renfro is a 6-foot guard that was productive as a sophomore, but is one of the best running backs in Missouri. Hafer – a 6-foot-7 forward – is an above-the-rim player and the youngest son of Joplin legend Jeff Hafer. Whit currently holds football offers from Mizzou and Kansas.

“Terrance is a very athletic and active post player,” said Schaake. “He’s one of our best rebounders and finishers around the rim. Quin is a strong player, can create off the dribble and finishes around the rim. He’s one of our better on ball defenders. Whit is a very athletic post, who has the ability to shoot from the outside. He does a great job of being a presence on the defensive end.

Joplin will also turn to several newcomers to see significant varsity minutes.

Junior Hobbs Gooch adds length and athleticism for the Eagles. Sophomores Cooper Williams and Trenton Gage add backcourt depth, with Gage coming off a great summer on the AAU circuit. Freshman Fred Taylor could also be looking at a varsity role this winter.

The Eagles will enter the season as one of the top teams in Class 6 and the COC. But with pockets of inexperience, the identification of roles will be key as Joplin adjusts to some new faces in new places and gets its football players integrated.

“We are a very young team, but the guys returning have a lot of experience,” said Schaake. “We have to fill the spots with new guys, but have the potential to make an impact. I believe chemistry is the most important obstacle for us. We have enough size, athletic ability, and skill. If we can get everyone to mesh, then I believe we can become a really good defensive team, which allows us to get out and run.”

Joplin will host Lamar and East Newton for a jamboree on Nov. 17. The Eagles will open the 2022-23 regular season on Nov. 22 vs. McDonald County.

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