Although Haskins had been honored many times before, Allen said the legendary coach appreciated being honored by his hometown.
“He was just excited about his basketball courts being named after him,” he said.
Janzen said he saw Haskins’ excitement at the ceremony.
“He seemed just like a really nice gentleman and he just seemed tickled to death this was done for him,” Janzen said. “There’s always something special about getting your name put on something in your own hometown.”
Allen recalled seeing the coach reunite with friends, former teammates and players at the dedication.
“He was just a very dynamic man. He had a lot of presence about him,” Allen said. “Although he was stooped and he was aged and he didn’t move very fast, he just had a lot of charisma. You just felt good being around him.”
During the dedication, Has-kins was able to reunite with longtime friend Herman Carr.
Haskins and Carr, who attended Booker T. Washington High School in the days of segregation, played one-on-one basketball every day until dark.
Haskins and Carr’s relationship is considered a contributing factor to Haskins embracing black players as a coach.
The two hadn’t seen one another since 1948 when Carr left to join the Army and Haskins graduated high school and was on his way to Oklahoma A&M; to play with Hall of Fame coach Henry Iba.
Carr himself called the reunion “spectacular.”
“It was good because at that time I hadn’t seen Don in a long time,” Carr said from his home in Denver. “It was something spectacular to see him again.”
Carr said he and Haskins met while the two were in high school and “came up together” playing one-on-one games.
“We just met up on the school ground one time and we just became friends from that. Playing basketball, playing one-on-one together,” Carr said. “We became pretty close. He loved basketball and I loved it. It’s sad to see him go.”
But who won all of those till-dark games?
“We probably broke even,” Carr said with a chuckle. “I think he’s better shooter than I was, but I had a hook shot he couldn’t stop.”