Hounds add third California juco signee

With most of the team's top scorers lost to graduation, Eastern New Mexico University men's basketball coach Andrew Helton is continuing to hit the California junior college ranks in search of replacements.

Helton signed Rafael Love, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard-forward from College of the Canyons, to a national letter of intent for next season.

Love, from Long Beach, joins point guard Rodney Blackmon and forward D.J. Hardwell, two Californians out of the juco ranks who were signed last month.

Blackmon, who played at West Los Angeles College, and Love faced each other last season in the Western State Conference and spent time guarding each other, Helton said. Their teams split in league play.

Love averaged around 18 points and seven rebounds for College of the Canyons, helping the Cougars get into the state playoffs.

"The thing that's good is that with D.J. and Rafael, we've got two bigger guys who can play the wing positions," Helton said. "We missed that last year; we either had bigs (inside players) or guards, for the most part."

ENMU, which finished 7-11 in the Lone Star Conference and 14-14 overall last season, is graduating six of its top seven scorers from that squad who accounted for about 70 percent of the scoring. The only returnee in that group is point guard Devone Davis, who was fourth at nine points a game.

Helton said he hopes to be able to sign two or three more players, mainly looking for inside help

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