DJ or Damariae? Horne Avoiding Sophomore Slump at ISU

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — In basketball circles he’s known as DJ Horne, an exciting young player at Illinois State who made the Missouri Valley all-freshman team last year.

His mother knows him as Damariae.

“I stuck with my real name Damariae until second or third grade,” Horne said. “Around that time is when I got tired of the teacher butchering my name during roll call. So I said just call me DJ. That will be easier for everybody.”

Guarding Horne hasn’t been easy for anybody. In his second year, he’s blossomed into the Redbirds leading scorer by averaging 14.3 points per game.

Last year he worked his way into the starting the lineup early in the season and averaged 8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds a game. Horne admits he went through growing pains as a freshman playing miles away from his North Carolina home last season.

But he got over any homesickness and now just feels right at home in Normal. His parents are helping.

“My mom calls me every day, I can’t miss her too much because we talk almost every day,” Horne said. “My dad says, ‘I know your mom is bugging you, calling you all the time so I try and stay back. But he talks to me a lot, too.”

Horne is no longer surprise to anyone except for maybe the recruiters who took a pass on him in high school. ISU was the first school to offer him a Division I scholarship, which he took after his official visit to campus.

“That stuck with me, feeling I was under-recruited,” Horne said. “The fact coach (Dan) Muller extended that offer to me when nobody else had at that time. It had a special place in my heart.”

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