By BEN JOHNSON
Northeastern State’s roster was in need of a growth spurt for the 2012-2013 season. The RiverHawks got one in TsaLiDi Sequoyah.
With a lineup of players that ranged mostly from 6-foot-2 to 6-5, the RiverHawks needed someone with some height to fill the void left by the departure of Justin Johnson’s 6-7 stature. Sequoyah’s 6-9 frame should help solve that problem.
The RiverHawks announced on Friday the signing of the 6-9, 230-pound center from Cherokee, N.C.
“We feel real fortunate to have found him,” said NSU men’s basketball coach Larry Gipson, whose RiverHawks went 5-20 this past season.
Sequoyah recorded a double-double every game during his senior campaign in high school, posting an average of 21 points and 16.9 rebounds per game. He was the top rebounder in North Carolina and was second in scoring.
“We got some film and video that we were able to watch, and we feel like he could be a special talent,” Gipson said. “So we’re glad to have him.”
According to multiple reports, Sequoyah initially committed to Western Carolina, where he would have been a preferred walk-on. But Gipson said Sequoyah, native Cherokee, felt like he was at home in Tahlequah, the capital city of Cherokee Nation.
“He’s got family in and around Cherokee County,” Gipson said of Sequoyah, who also averaged 4.9 blocks per contest. “I think that meant a lot to him. I think he has a real comfort level here in Oklahoma. You’d probably have to ask him, but I think he’s been here 14 or 15 times to visit family during the summer.”
When asked if Sequoyah would come in and play right away, Gipson said: “I don’t know where he’ll be [in the rotation]. He’s big and we can’t coach size. We’re just happy to have him.”