Clovis grads on national TV

CNJ staff

Hank Baskett and Joey Garcia hogged plenty of headlines as multi-sport standouts at Clovis High School.

Teammates for a season at Clovis in 2000, Baskett and Garcia take their talents to the national stage today when New Mexico and Texas Tech play in separate bowl games on ESPN2 and ESPN.

Baskett and the Lobos play Navy at 2:30 p.m. in San Francisco in the Emerald Bowl. Garcia and the Red Raiders face fourth-ranked California at 6 p.m. in San Diego in the Holiday Bowl.

The past two Decembers the Lobos played — and lost — in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“It’s always good to do new things in life,” said Baskett, a 6-foot-4 junior and the Lobos leading receiver. “It’s good to experience new things.”

Baskett said the Lobos were just happy to be in a bowl game two years ago when they lost 27-14 to UCLA. Last year, Oregon State ran over New Mexico 55-14.

“Winning is the thing I’m looking forward to the most,” said Baskett, who has caught 49 passes for 693 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Navy (9-2) is similar to the Lobos’ Mountain West Conference rival Air Force in that the Midshipmen rely on the option, averaging 291.4 yards a game, which is third-best in the nation.

“They’re a really good rushing offense,” said Baskett, a state champion high jumper at Clovis who also played basketball for the Wildcats. “But no matter how good the rushing offense, I’d put our defense up against anyone.”

New Mexico is ranked eighth in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 93 yards a game.

Garcia, a 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman, overcame an early-season leg injury to become a special teams standout for Tech.

He is also a backup strong safety and could see action in the Red Raiders’ nickel package when they take on California (10-1), according to Texas Tech assistant sports information director Chris Cook.

Cook said Texas Tech coach Mike Leach would not let the media talk to players before the game.

Garcia helped Clovis win a state football title in 2001, was a state-champion hurdler and also played basketball.