By Dave Wagner
Coming off a 20-8 season and a run to the program’s first Lone Star Conference South Division championship, Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Shawn Scanlan and assistant coach Mark Murdock have been busy trying to supplement the Greyhounds’ returning talent.
While the Hounds have a solid returning base, signing players has been a slow process. After landing junior college forward Kennis Green in May, they’ve added another juco prospect in 6-foot-5 forward Edmond Elay of Victorville, Calif.
Elay played at the same California school (Barstow C.C.) as Jereena Bosket of the ENMU women’s team.
Scanlan said the slender (195 pounds) Elay gives the Hounds an outside shooter.
“He’s a decent athlete,” Scanlan said. “We’ve been looking for shooters, and he can shoot it. We also hope he can help us inside, especially defensively.
“He’s kind of a swing forward. I think he’ll help fortify us inside, with the added bonus that he can shoot a 3-pointer.”
Elay played for two years at Barstow, averaging 15 points last season in helping the team to an 18-9 record. He shot 44 percent from the field (43 percent on 3-pointers) and hit 104 of 128 free throws (81 percent) en route to All-Foothill Conference honors.
“We’re still looking to get a couple (of players),” Scanlan said. “We’ve got a couple of things working, and we’re aware of some guys. We have room to take two more.
“We’re looking for an inside player if we can find one, and a perimeter player who can score.”
ENMU returns five players in senior point guards Brent Cooper and David Hamilton, junior post Jamaal Hunnicutt, senior guard-forward Garland Coleman and junior guard Irshaun Pinckney. In addition, three redshirts — all fowards — are expected to join the squad: Willie Hamilton and Chad Donnell, who will be freshmen in eligibility, and junior Travazz Buckley.
Murdock was in the Dallas area this weekend looking at potential prospects. Scanlan will be in the Tulsa area next weekend doing the same.
“I feel good about the guys we’ve got,” Murdock said. “We need one more impact player. We need a guy who can score and play a couple of positions for us.”
Among others, the Hounds have to replace All-South Division performer Cedric Palmer, a 6-6 forward who led the team in scoring each of the past two years.
“Travazz could go a long way toward doing that,” Murdock said. “He can really rebound and defend.”
Scanlan is also confident the athletic Buckley can have an impact.
“I feel like Travazz can do that,” he said. “He’s not the scorer Cedric is, but he can give us a lot of explosiveness. And I’m looking for Jamaal to be the lead guy this year instead of a support guy.”