Junior Dakota Joi Inniss hones skills for basketball dreams

Sophia Hosford

Dakota Joi Inniss imagined her junior season playing in front of crowded bleachers with college scouts, continuing her basketball stardom. Instead, she has been wistfully waiting for a long-delayed season.

The 5’2 point guard played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball in the summer but had to stop when school began. Inniss said that she will start playing again in April. Inniss has played in 42 games in her Wilson career, averaging 4.6 points per game. 

Since the Tigers are not currently competing in league play due to DC COVID-19 restrictions, Inniss is focusing on perfecting her craft and staying in shape so she can be “100 percent ready” for her Spring season with AAU. 

Due to the pandemic, Inniss’ recruiting process has been difficult, “I haven’t been playing as much as I want to play. I have been doing a lot more practicing so it’s more of a waiting process for me” she explained. 

Iniss’s ultimate goal is to play at a Division 1 school with a four-year scholarship. As a student athlete, getting a great education is important to Inniss. She hopes that she will be able to live out her basketball and academic dreams at Florida A&M University. Inniss desires a ‘family oriented’ basketball team like she has experienced as a Wilson Tiger and while in middle school at Deal.

Inniss is drawn to Florida A&M University because students are “surrounded by black excellence.” Located in Tallahassee, Florida, FAMU is a historically Black university competing in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Inniss began playing basketball in fourth grade but realized in seventh grade that she wanted to pursue the sport at a higher level. “I started to see I was good at my craft and I could take it to the next level,” Inniss explained. Her fondest memory was playing in her eighth grade championship at Deal. “My team was down the whole game and then we came back and won,” Inniss said.

Innis emphasized the importance of community and family in her basketball career, “What I enjoy playing the most for Wilson is playing in the Tiger Den when people come out and support both the girls and boys team.” Inniss has been on the basketball team since her freshman year. 

Inniss has her sights set on the April start date for AAU and will continue to prepare for the tentative Wilson season.