By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Shawn Scanlan has pretty much gone back to the drawing board for the 2008-09 season.
Coming off a 6-21 season, including 0-12 in the Lone Star Conference South Division, Scanlan enters his ninth season at ENMU with virtually a new roster made up primarily of junior college transfers.
Scanlan said that’s the easiest way for a school like ENMU to build quickly and try to be competitive in a competitive conference like the LSC.
“The thing about the junior college kids is they come in with some experience,” he said. “The advantage (with high school players) is you, hopefully, have them for four years. But they may not be readyto contribute right away.
“This level (NCAA Division II) is more of a junior college level (than Division I). I’m very pleased with the group we’ve put together, given the circumstances. I think we’ve got a lot of flexibility, if we’re fortunate enough to dodge injuries.”
That’s something the Greyhounds weren’t able to do last season. They finished the season with only three members of their original roster, and filled in with some walk-ons and football players.
Only sophomore forward Matt Churchman returns from last year’s active roster. He came in as a walk-on last season, and circumstances led him to far more playing time (27.4 minutes a game) than anticipated.
Tommy York, a 6-foot-8 junior post from Lampassas, Texas, suffered a herniated disc in his back in preseason and ended up redshirting. He and Churchman join 10 junior college transfers, plus freshman Courtland Luscombe, a walk-on from Class 2A state champion Texico.
“When we got out of the month of September (last year), we were already down three guys (from the original roster,” said Scanlan, who led the Hounds to back-to-back South Division championships in 2003 and 2004. “That doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s behind us.
“I think we’ve kind of covered all of our needs. Basically, we’ve tried to leave ourselves with two players at every position.”
The juco signees — five forwards and five guards — range in size from 5-10 to 6-7. Scanlan said there isn’t much much difference in the newcomers going into the season.
“I think we’re going to have a lot of guys who are a lot alike,” he said. “I’s just a matter of who rises to the top when the time comes.
“The mystery isn’t whether we’re good enough to play. The mystery is can we get everyone on the same page.”
ENMU Preseason Roster
Matt Churchman, 6-4 So. F, Rio Rancho; Tommy York, 6-8 Jr. P-x.
Darsenio Carter, 6-6 Jr. F, Sacramento, Calif.; Jimmie Marshall, 5-10 Jr. PG, Milwaukee; Donovan Schultz, 6-6 Jr. F, Denver; Aaron King, 6-1 Jr. G, Los Angeles; Equs Darby, 6-6 Jr. F, Lake City, S.C.; Dannon Wafer, 6-2 Jr. F, Galveston, Texas; Justin Reynolds, 6-1 Jr. PG, Danville, Va.; Gerald Brown, 6-2 Jr. G, Houma, La.; Brandon Wilson, 6-4 Jr. G, Dallas; Kelvin Franklin, 6-2 Jr. G, Denver.
Courtland Luscombe, 6-4 Fr. F/G, Texico.
x-Injury redshirt last season.