Isler signs ex-CHS standout Lieb

Another former Clovis Wildcat is joining J.D. Isler as McMurry University.

CMI file photoLathan Lieb, a 2011 Clovis High grad, is joining former Wildcat coach J.D. Isler at McMurry University next season. Lieb led Clovis in scoring his senior season, and spent his freshman season at Otero Junior College in Colorado.

Isler, who coached 10 years at Clovis High before taking the job last May in Abilene, confirmed receipt of paperwork on 2011 grad Lathan Lieb on Friday. He will join the War Hawks as a sophomore, following his one-year stint at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo.

"I knew I wanted to be at McMurry; I knew I wanted to play for coach Isler again," said Lieb, a 6-foot-3 1/2, 195-pound guard who averaged 23.6 points in his senior season at Clovis. "It was a great experience."

Lieb could have transitioned directly to the War Hawks, Isler said, but timing interfered with that.

"He'd already committed to Otero (six weeks) before I got the McMurry job," Isler said. "We felt like he should honor that commitment."

Isler and Rattlers coach Houston Reed discussed Lieb several times over the season, and it became an understanding that Lieb would probably join McMurry in the 2012-13 season. Lieb saw limited minutes with just one start for Otero his freshman season.

"We're very excited to get him," Isler said. "We know exactly what we're getting. He knows our system, and the learning curve will be much, much quicker."

McMurry will need immediate help, after losing five seniors — including former Clovis products Jaden Isler and Bryce Hill — and two-thirds of its scoring.

"They lost quite a few seniors," Lieb said. "I'm ready to come in, work hard and hopefully give them some scoring and bring what I can bring."

Isler said McMurry, which is moving to the Heartland Conference in its debut NCAA Division II campaign, should be able to reload for the transition.

"It's going good," Isler said. "The move to Division II, and having scholarships, has helped open some doors."

When Lieb transferred from Dora to Clovis as a junior, his arrival was heavily scrutinized, with Isler suspended and subsequently fired from his coaching post by Clovis Municipal Schools based on New Mexico Activities Associations allegations Lieb was recruited to play for the Wildcats.

Isler fought the process in court, had the decision overturned, and said a trial is set for May against the NMAA. He would not disclose what he is seeking in damages.

Lieb played just one game his junior season, scoring 10 points before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He helped Clovis reach the Class 5A semifinals as a senior and finished as the school's 13th all-time leading scorer.

"I actually did get recruited this time," Lieb said with a laugh. "Everything's legal this time; nothing was illegal the first time."

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