link COURTESY PHOTO:ENMU athletics The Greyhounds warm up the crowd during their Midnight Madness celebration last weekend. The Greyhounds have a new coach in Stott Carter and 13 new players from Texas, Indianapolis, England, New Zealand and New Mexico.
The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds had a tough season last year, finishing 14-13 and 7-7 in the Lone Star Conference.
This season the Greyhounds bring in 13 new players from all over the world. Expectations may be low outside the team, but the Greyhounds expect to turn a few heads.
“I want to win the conference. I think it’ll be a big step for this program. After that anything is possible, but that’s what we want,” junior forward Jason Clardy said.
Like most of this year’s team, Clardy was not on the squad last year, but knows the area as he played in Texas.
While the Greyhounds haven’t been playing long as a team, they know many people inside the conference don’t expect much from them after so much turnover from last year.
The team has turned that into inspiration.
“Everyone is probably betting against us because we have a new coach and pretty much a new team with only three returnees, but we believe we can make some noise in the Lone Star Conference,” said Deyton De La Cerda, a junior from Roswell, who is one of three returning players from last year’s team.
De La Cerda has had to get used to seeing a whole new group of teammates, but the adjustment period wasn’t long for him.
“It threw me off a bit, but I just treated everyone like I knew them already, and now that we’re getting closer together, we’re starting to figure how we all play and things are coming together.”
Interim coach Stott Carter, who took over when Andrew Helton resigned at the end of last season, believes with time the Greyhounds can compete. “We’ve been in practice for about nine days now and the guys are working hard.
With losing 11 guys there will be an adjustment period. The guys are still learning how to play together, but they want to be competitive this season,” he said. Carter spanned the globe to find his team, including Texas, Indiana, New Zealand and Arizona. Elliot Dadds, a freshman from Southampton England, found his way to the Greyhounds through his coach in England, who once played for Eastern.
“Jim Diamond ... played here in the ’60’s and spoke to the head coach here, and I liked the set-up so we went from there,” Dadds said.
Like most of Greyhounds, Dadds is still getting used to the college game and the bump up in competition.
“The game is faster here, it’s a different style. I was struggling at first but I’m getting the hang of it now.”
The Greyhounds have just 20 days to get ready to play Texas A&M International University at the Ed Messbarger Tip-Off Classic.
While they’re still a work in progress, they know they have to be ready once the games start.
“Right now we have a world-against-us mentality. The rest of the conference doesn’t expect much from us. We’re all going to have to put in as one and play together to win,” De La Cerda said.