By Dave Wagner
When Muleshoe’s Shani Rasco was diagnosed with diabetes as a seventh-grader, the thing which most bothered her was that “I might never get to play basketball again.”
She admits she’s had to prove to some people that she could play despite the disease, but Rasco — whose first name is pronounced “SHAW-nee” — thinks she’s done that.
Rasco, a 6-foot post player who helped the Lady Mules go 54-13 over the past two seasons, has signed a letter of intent to play next year at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. She is ENMU women’s coach Dan Buzard’s first signee of the spring.
“I’m real excited about it,” Rasco said Sunday night. “I’d been looking at LCU (Lubbock Christian), but they gave my scholarship to someone else. Now I get another chance at it, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Rasco, one of three 6-footers on the Muleshoe team the past two years, averaged around nine points and 6 1/2 rebounds as a senior. She also had 99 blocked shots.
Muleshoe girls coach Shana Simms said that while her strong suit is as a defensive player, she thinks Rasco has a chance to develop her scoring touch.
“I think Eastern is a good place for her to go,” Simms said. “I think it’ll be a good deal for her, and a good deal for (Eastern).
“It’ll be fun to watch her at the next level. She’s not a bad offensive player. I think with a little confidence she could average in double figures.”
Rasco said she wears an insulin pump most of the time. Simms said Rasco’s ability to overcome the diabetes obstacle “is truly remarkable.”
“I think I’m going to like Eastern,” said Rasco, who has visited the campus three times and had a chance to play with the current players on one trip. “It’s not too far from home. My friends and family can come and watch us when we play at home.”
Buzard, in his second year as ENMU’s head coach after a long stint as an assistant under Wayne Moore, said that Rasco could make a solid contribution in time to a program which is looking to get back to respectability. The Zias have gone just 20-57 over the past three seasons, including back-to-back 20-loss campaigns.
“I think she’s a solid player coming from a good Muleshoe program,” Buzard said. “It’s going to help her playing behind some of the players we have right now.
“I think she’s a good player, and she’s got her best years of basketball ahead of her.”