ANNA – On Monday, Aug. 14, surrounded by family and friends in the Anna High School gym where he scorched so many nets, Keamoni Mattocks signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo.

Mattocks graduated from Anna last spring after a stellar basketball career with the Coyotes — and “stellar” is no exaggeration. The 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound guard leaves the program as its all-time leading scorer with 2,219 points — including 367 three-point field goals. He was a three-time District MVP and a three-time Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-Region pick. The TABC also tabbed him All-State twice. On top of that, Mattocks shares the Anna record for most career wins (98) with 2017 graduate and fellow guard EJ Smith.

“It was a great stress reliever and big blessing to me,” Mattocks said of signing with MSSU. “I thank my family and my friends for just being there with me through the process. It was hard and they all were with me to the end. I’m just blessed to be able to have the opportunity go play basketball for them.”

Mattocks’ mother Karen Hughes sat to his right as he signed the school documents.

“It’s been a hard road,” she said, “but he is a very talented and hard-working young man and I’m proud of him.”

“You can’t put into words what he’s meant to this program,” Anna head basketball coach Kyle Phifer said. “His leadership, I think that’s the thing that stuck out the most. His ability to play was one thing, but his leadership and the way kids followed him in a positive direction was something you can’t replace.… He deserves it. No one works as hard as him. You know he’s going to get it done up there. He’s going to have a special career up there, just like he had here. You’re excited for a kid like that.”

Mattocks’ sister Kenya Colon was there with her husband George Colon and their young daughter Evelyn.

“I’ve been watching him play for a long time,” Kenya said. “It’s bittersweet. I’m happy that he accomplished so much, that he’s going off to school, but I’m going to miss him because he’s my little brother. I know he’s going to do well.”

A crew of Mattocks’ close friends attended as well, including just-graduated teammate Donald Maloid, Tela Short, Zay Steens, Abner Dubar, King Oke, Bubba Jones, Jay Phanthanithasack and Noah Palshaw.

Mattocks said he chose to attend MSSU and play for the Lions due to a combination of factors.

“I met the coaching staff and they just made me feel like I was home. They told me they liked the way I played and that I fit their system. They took me around and showed me the campus and I just really thought it was a good place for me to be. I enjoyed the community. We went out and ate dinner. The people there in the city were good people. I just enjoyed it.”

As for his time at Anna, Mattocks said he’ll remember his coaches, friends and teammates with whom he shared a great bond.

“And being able to play in a good community. Anna is a small community, but they show you a lot of love.… A lot of people here have looked after me.”