May 13, 2008

Four Outstanding Players Join Cal State Northridge Men's Basketball Program

May 13, 2008

Northridge, Calif. - The first 7-foot center to ever enroll at Cal State Northridge will be part of the Matadors basketball program in 2008-09 along with a strong rebounding forward from Alabama, the 2007-08 Big Sky Freshman of the Year and a top transfer from Tulsa University.

Xavier Crawford, a 7-foot, 220-pound center from Yuba College (Marysville, Ca) and Vincent Cordell, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward from Northwest Shoals College in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, have signed national letters of intent to play basketball at Cal State Northridge starting in 2008-09.

In addition, Vinnie McGhee, who earned Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honors during his freshman season (2007-08) at Sacramento State, will enroll at CSUN in the fall of 2008. Mark Hill, a guard from Tulsa University, has transferred to Cal State Northridge.

In two seasons at Yuba College, Crawford helped the 49ers to a 59-12 record. During the 2007-08 campaign, Yuba College chalked up a 32-4 record (only two other JC teams won 30 or more games), won the Bay Valley Conference title for a second straight season and advanced to the California Community College State Championship "Elite Eight" for the second straight year. For several months during the 2007-08 season, Yuba College was ranked #1 in the state.

Crawford averaged 6.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Crawford, who gained all-league honorable mention honors, hit .595 from the floor. This past season, Crawford scored 25 points against Mendocino, and chalked up 15 points and 17 rebounds against Napa Valley.

Crawford hails from Richfield, Minnesota, but graduated from Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina. Crawford had originally signed with Bradley University after graduating from Mt. Zion, but decided to head west to play at Yuba College. Other schools to recruit Crawford included Bradley, Wyoming, St. Louis and Boise State.

"We felt like we needed to get a little bit bigger on the inside; someone to take up space, block shots, and score around the basket," said Matador head coach Bobby Braswell. "Xavier can get up and down the floor really well, and we are looking forward to him being a key component on the defensive end of the floor in addition to rebounding the basketball. Xavier also has a soft touch around the basket and is a good passer. He can score facing the basket from 12 to 15 feet."

Cordell, who hails from Huntsville, Alabama, averaged 12.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game this past year at Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Cordell scored in double figures 23 of the 32 games this past season, including a season-high 35 points (15-for-21 from the floor) against Dyersburg State Community College. In the season finale against Chattahoochee Valley, Cordell scored 25 points (8-for-10 from the floor). For the season, Cordell shot .517 from the floor. Cordell also hit 37 percent from three-point territory. For his efforts, Cordell was a first team all-league selection.

Cordell's exploits were exhibited around the basket where he averaged 9.4 rebounds per game. In 18 games, Cordell grabbed ten or more rebounds including a season-high 17 boards against Chattahoochee Valley, and 16 each in games against Columbia State Community College and Faulkner State College.

Cordell gained numerous honors at Butler High School in Huntsville, Al.

"This is the first time we have recruited a player out of Alabama," said Braswell. "Vincent is the type of player we think can make up for the loss of Jonathan Heard. He is a small forward who can shoot the three-pointer, and can also rebound the ball. He can play several positions. Vincent is strong, has a great attitude, and can really lock into you defensively."

McGhee captured Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honors in addition to being an honorable mention all-league choice at Sacramento State. McGhee, who is 6-0, 165-pounds, started 27 of 28 games. McGhee averaged 12.1 points (#2 on the Hornets) and 5.1 assists per game (142). McGhee was also among the team leaders in steals (38) and three-point goals (50). McGhee's success earned him a spot on the All Freshman Mid-Major team by College Basketball Insider.

McGhee hails from McClymonds High School in Oakland where he was a two-time first team All-Oakland Athletic League selection. During his senior season, McGhee led his team to a 28-4 overall record, a league title, the northern California Division I championship, and the school's first appearance in the state championship.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, McGhee, who had also considered transferring to Santa Clara, USF, Wyoming and Creighton, will redshirt during the 2008-09 season.

"We have picked up an outstanding point-guard," said Braswell. "As he proved last year in the Big Sky Conference, Vinnie is a great shooter, a great ball handler and a great passer. He makes good decisions and is extremely competitive. He really wants to win. He works hard at the game. He embodies the characteristics that we want in our basketball players."

Hill, who played in 34 games in two seasons at Tulsa University, transferred to Cal State Northridge during the 2007-08 campaign.

During the 2006-07 season at Tulsa, Hill played in all 31 games and started ten contests. Passing the ball was Hill's expertise. Hill, who is 5-10, 175-pounds, dished out 92 assists, and led Tulsa in assists a team-high 13 times. His career-best ten assists came against Tulane.

Hill could also score when called upon. In 22 minutes of play at Arkansas (2006-07), Hill scored a career-best 17 points. Hill also collected 16 points along with eight assists and two steals against SMU.

"We had originally recruited Mark out of high school in Los Angeles, but he initially decided on Tulsa," said Braswell. "When he decided it was time to come home, he contacted us. We were very interested in him becoming a part of our basketball program. He is quick-on-quick. He is strong, handles the ball really well along with being a great passer. It's going to be hard for people to stay in front of him because he is so quick. Defensively Mark can pick you up full court and keep pressure on you all the way up the floor. We're very excited to have Marc join the Matador program."

Hill was a three-year letter winner and starter at Fremont High School in Los Angeles. Hill, who averaged 15 points, ten assists, four steals and three rebounds as a senior, was a two-time first team all-city selection in Los Angeles as a junior and senior. As a senior, Hill earned conference co-MVP honors while leading his team to a 22-3 record.

During the 2005-06 season, Hill played at Genesis Prep School in Mississippi.

Cal State Northridge, which ended the 2007-08 season with a 20-10 record and a share of the Big West title, returns all the key components for another successful season in 2008-09. Deon Tresvant, the team's leading scorer returns, along with Tremaine Townsend, the league's top rebounder and blocked shot leader, and Josh Jenkins, who led the conference in assists all return. However, five seniors, including Tresvant, Townsend, Jenkins and three-year starter Rob Haynes, will be graduating, and a new influx of talented players needed to be recruited.

"Our goal was to get deeper at every position," said Braswell. "But we also realize that we have an upcoming senior class with five players who will graduate. We wanted to be in a position where we would have players already in the program that would replace those seniors. We feel like we have improved the program in a lot of different ways. This was an important class for the future of Northridge basketball."

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