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Grafton basketball player Davis-Joiner dies
By Mark Stewart of the Journal Sentinel
Jan. 16, 2012
Grafton boys basketball coach Kevin McKenna didn't know it at the time, but Josh Davis-Joiner's final play in a game was a fitting one.
"His last play as a high school player was a slam dunk with a ton of emotion and a ton of spirit," McKenna said.
Davis-Joiner, a senior, died Monday evening after collapsing during the early part of practice. He was given CPR immediately and then tended to by a nurse who was in the building. McKenna said Davis-Joiner never regained consciousness.
Greg Kabara, principal of John Long Middle School in Grafton, informed staff of the death through an email Monday night. At the top of the district's website, it asks for prayers for Davis-Joiner's family.
According to Kabara's email, extra counselors will be on staff during the school day Tuesday to help students cope with the death.
Davis-Joiner, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward, was averaging 3.3 points per game. Defense was his forte, and McKenna would use him on the opposing team's top guard or forward.
More than his passion to defend, however, McKenna remembered Davis-Joiner as a hard worker who worked to improve his grades so that he could get to play this season.
"He worked at (his grades) and worked at it and came to every practice. He pushed every player. He pushed himself and this year he didn't have any grade problems. He was a model student.
"He was a great character kid. Unbelievable person. Hard worker in and out of the classroom. When you want a son, it's Josh Davis-Joiner."
"It was impossible not to smile whenever you talked to Josh. We were blessed to have him in our building....a tragic and terrible loss."
According to McKenna, Davis-Joiner attended the Marquette men's basketball game with his family Monday.
The coach fondly recalled how Davis-Joiner teased him about his new haircut at practice.
"He said, 'Coach, you need to do some kind of design in your head,' " McKenna said. "That's Josh. He's got a great personality. Engaging kid. Warm smile. Friend to everybody. This is a tragedy. This is just a tragedy."