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ENMU hoops programs add prospects

Women add Aztec's McCaskill, men bring in second-generation Hound Sawyer

 


PORTALES — May can be one of the busiest college basketball months. Busy not with basketballs dribbling and scoreboards flashing, but with scouts’ eyes roving and pens signing on the dotted line.

It’s the heart of the offseason, a time in the basketball year almost as important as the season itself. Eastern New Mexico University men’s coach Tres Segler and ENMU women’s coach Josh Prock are no different than any other college coaches. They too spend their springs trying to build a successful winter, and Thursday, each announced adding a piece to their respective programs — guard-forward Darius Sawyer signed with the men’s team, guard Myra McCaskill with the women’s team.

Sawyer is the son of former Eastern New Mexico player Doug Sawyer and the third ENMU men’s basketball addition this week, following guard Isaiah Murphy on Monday and forward Chukuka Emili on Tuesday. Segler thinks the 6-foot-5 Sawyer could inject energy into his program.

“We’re so proud that he chose the Hounds,” Segler said. “Darius is a very dynamic and versatile basketball player, and we’re so excited about how many impacts he will have on our team. When we recruited Darius, we kept asking ourselves why Division I schools were not swarming him. It doesn’t take much basketball knowledge to see that his athletic ability and especially his leaping ability make him a mid-to-high major athlete.”

Sawyer brings many things to the ENMU table, but among them will not be ego.

“Darius is such a humble and unassuming guy,” Segler said. “He has the personality build that will help him enter the Lone Star Conference with the respect for the league that the LSC requires. However, that same humility is what makes him special, and I truly believe that we got a player in Darius whose work ethic will be truly special.”

That is sky-high praise coming from someone who has been around basketball elite.

“I have been blessed to coach NBA players like Kevin Durant, P.J. Tucker, Lamarquis Aldridge and D.J. Augustin,” Segler said. “All those players knew their own talents and had self-confidence, but each of those athletes had a humility when it came to putting in the required work to be great. Darius has that same instinctual personality trait, and I am very hopeful that as he works to earn his spot in the Lone Star Conference, he will be able to separate himself as one of the league’s best.”

Sawyer frequently wowed high school and junior college gyms with his dunking abilities, and the Inverness, Florida native is used to four or five dunks a night. Sawyer averaged 14 points, six rebounds and 2.3 assists per game at ASA Miami, and as a versatile wing-forward combo for the Silver Storm, also added 28 blocks last season.

Sawyer was named Citrus County Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Citrus County Boys Track Athlete of the Year and Citrus County Male Athlete of the Year in 2015. It’s easy to understand why Segler is excited to bring him aboard.

Prock is just as pumped about welcoming New Mexico product McCaskill into the Eastern women’s basketball fray. Signing her is part of how Prock hopes to keep ENMU competitive.

“Myra is a phenomenal young lady. Great student and player,” Prock said. “We are excited to add her to our roster. She is an explosive scorer and one of the best shooters in our entire state. She will be a great representative the next four years for us. We are looking forward to start working with her.”

The 5’8” McCaskill from Aztec High School brings with her a wealth of experience and accolades. She is a two-time all-state selection, and a three-time first-team all-district choice. McCaskill was also selected as Most Valuable Player three times, received two All-Academic awards, and was team captain in each of her last two seasons. In 2017, she was chosen for the Tiger Pride Award for Academic Excellence.

 

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