Blue Ribbon College Basketball Picks CSUN Men's Basketball Team To Win Big West Championship

Sept. 30, 2008

Franklin, Tn - Make it three in a row!!!

First, it was Lindy's College Basketball Magazine that picked the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team to win the Big West League title in 2008-09, followed by Athlon Sports College Basketball Annual as CSUN's choice to capture top league honors.

Now, a third pre-season national publication, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, that is selecting the Matadors to win the Big West title.

According to Andy Friedlander, who wrote the story on CSUN for Blue Ribbon Magazine, "The territory the Matadors currently occupy is located at or near the top of the conference, and now everybody knows their address. After last season (20-10, 12-4 Big West), when seniors Calvin Chitwood and Jonathan Heard led Northridge to ten wins and a share of the league's regular season championship, there is no hiding anyone. So even though Chitwood and Heard have moved on (graduated), the Matadors still reside in the Big West's most prestigious neighborhood, thanks to the return of three all-conference-caliber players (Tremaine Townsend, Deon Tresvant, Josh Jenkins) and a couple of high-level transfers."

Head coach Bobby Braswell, who will be entering his 13th season at the helm of Matador basketball, told Friedlander, "We feel really good about our chances if we can stay healthy. Now it falls on us as coaches to make sure our guys are focused on the task at hand and take one game at a time as we go through this process. ... If we can improve every day in practice, get better every game, we're going to have a chance."

According to Friedlander, the Matadors have a better chance than any other Big West team because they are more than solid at three key positions - point-guard, center and shooting guard - and they back it up with perhaps the best depth in the league. "Braswell, whose teams are known for their frenetic, pressing style that forces turnovers and drives up a game's tempo, generally uses a lot of players, but said this season he feels even better about his bench than ever."

Braswell told Friedlander, "We will go at least ten deep. I really feel comfortable about that, and we'll probably be abe to go as deep as 12."

Blue Ribbon Analysis (Cal State Northridge)
Backcourt: A-
Benh/Depth: B
Frontcourt: B-
Intangibles: A

"How deep are the Matadors? Last season, their leading scorer, (Deon) Tresvant, did not start a game, and top rebounder (Tremaine) Townsend, started only eight. Despite losing some significant talent, Northridge looks just as loaded for a run at the Big West title this time. In fact, it might be in better position because more of its core players have been in the system for a year. Last season, inexperience at some key spots prompted (head coach Bobby) Braswell to back off from his customary 94-foot high-pressure defense, though the Matadors still led the conference in steals (9.1) and turnovers forced per game (18.6). Now he plans to extend his defense baseline-to-baseline. While much of Northridge's offensive is generated by the defense, it helps to have a reliable scorer in the half-court game. The Matadors don't have just one, they have three, and perhaps more incoming players ... live up to their billing." - Andy Friedlander, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook

"That's kind of how our system is built. We definitely have some guys, who, if we need to get something done - whether it's Josh (Jenkins) handling the ball and breaking somebody down, or running a set for Deon to get him a shot or pounding the ball inside to (Tremaine) Townsend - we have a lot of people we can go to. Kind of what we do in our system is, we want to make it hard for people to take away one guy and limit us." - Bobby Braswell, head coach, Cal State Northridge Men's Basketball

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Forecast
1. Cal State Northridge
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. Cal State Fullerton
4. Pacific
5. UC Davis
6. Long Beach State
7. UC Riverside
8. UC Irvine
9. Cal Poly

Top Backcourts
1. Cal State Northridge
2. UC Davis
3. Cal State Fullerton

Top Frontcourts
1. Cal State Northridge
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. Pacific

All-Conference Team
Josh Jenkins - Cal State Northridge

Josh Akognon - Cal State Fullerton
Donovan Morris - Long Beach State
Mark Payne - UC Davis
Chris Devine - UC Santa Barbara

Player of the Year
Josh Akognon - Cal State Fullerton

Newcomer of the Year
Stephan Gilling - Long Beach State

Athlon Sports College Basketball Annual
1. Cal State Northridge
2. Cal State Fullerton
3. UC Santa Barbara
4. Long Beach State
5. Pacific
6. UC Irvine
7. Cal Poly
8. UC Riverside
9. UC Davis

Lindy's College Basketball Pre-Season Magazine Projections
1. Cal State Northridge
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. Long Beach State
4. Cal State Fullerton
5. Pacific
6. UC Riverside
7. UC Irvine
8. Cal Poly
9. UC Davis

The 2008-09 Cal State Northridge Men's Basketball Pre-Season Outlook
School: Cal State Northridge
Location: Northridge, Calif. 91330
Nickname: Matadors
Colors: Red, White and Black
Enrollment: 33,000
Founded: 1958
NCAA Affiliation: Division I
Conference: Big West
Home Court: The Matadome (1,600)
President: Dr. Jolene Koester
Athletic Director: Rick Mazzuto
Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations: Bob Vazquez
Website: www.gomatadors.com

Cal State Northridge Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Bobby Braswell (Cal State Northridge, 1985)
Career Record: 188-167 (12 years)
School Record: 188-167 (12 years)
Assistant Coaches: Louis Wilson, Danny Sprinkle, James Blake
Director of Basketball Operations: Ryan Dodd
2007-08 Record: 20-10
Big West Record: 12-4, 1stT
Starters Returning: Three
Lettermen Returning: Nine

All-American Candidates
Deon Tresvant, G, 6-1, 170, Senior, Long Beach, Calif. (13.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
Tremaine Townsend, F, 6-9, 215, Senior, Phoenix, Az (10.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg)

All-Conference Candidates
Josh Jenkins, G, 5-10, 185, Senior, Albuquerque, NM (10.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 6.4 apg)
Deon Tresvant, G, 6-1, 170, Senior, Long Beach, Calif. (13.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
Tremaine Townsend, F, 6-9, 215, Senior, Phoenix, Az (10.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg)

Returning Lettermen (*Returning Starter)
*Rob Haynes, G, 6-4, 185, Senior, Cerritos, Ca., 6.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
*Josh Jenkins, G, 5-10, 185, Senior, Albuquerque, NM (10.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 6.4 apg)
Michael Lizarraga, F, 6-7, 240, Sophomore, Dixon, Ca. (0.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg)
Rodrigue Mels, G, 6-3, 180, Senior, Les Abymes, Guadeloupe (5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Tony Osunsanmi, F/G, 6-4, 190, RS Junior, Ontario, Ca (0.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Evan Scott, F, 6-6, 210, RS Sophomore, Long Beach, Ca (0.3 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
Therin Taylor, G/F, 6-5, 180, Junior, Richmond, Ca (1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg)
*Tremaine Townsend, F, 6-9, 215, Senior, Phoenix, Az (10.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg)
Deon Tresvant, G, 6-1, 170, Senior, Long Beach, Calif. (13.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg)

Newcomers
Vincent Cordell, F, 6-6, 210, Junior, Huntsville, Al (Transfer from Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals, Al)
Xavier Crawford, C, 7-0, 220, Junior, Richfield, Mn (Transfer form Yuba College in Marysville, Ca)
Kenny Daniels, G, 6-4, 210. Junior, St. Louis, Mo (Transfer from Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming)
Willie Galick, F, 6-8, 225, RS Junior, Nanaimo, British Columbia (Transfer from Pepperdine University) - Redshirted in 2007-08
Mark Hill, G, 5-10, 175, Junior, Los Angeles, Ca (Transfer from Tulsa University) - Will be eligible in December, 2008
Dallas Rutherford, G, 6-1, 165, Freshman, Northridge, Ca (Campbell Hall HS)
Jermaine Smith, F, 6-9, 220, RS Junior, Irvington, NJ (Ohlone College, Fremont, Ca) - Redshirted in 2007-08)
Matthew Wallace, G, 6-2, 160, RS Freshman, Inglewood, Ca (Inglewood HS) - Reshirted in 2007-08)

Redshirt
Vinnie McGhee, G, 6-0, 165, Oakland, Ca (transfer from Sacramento State)

Strengths
* This could quite possibly be the best team during Bobby Braswell's head coaching tenure at Cal State Northridge.

* The Matadors are two-deep at every position, and return nine lettermen from a 2007-08 squad that chalked up a 20-10 record, and earned a share of the Big West title at 12-4.

* This team, on paper, has the capabilities of making the NCAA Tournament.

* Player of the Year candidates, and possible All-American candidates are Tremaine Townsend (F, 6-9, 215, Senior) and Deon Tresvant (G, 6-1, 170, Senior)

* Tremaine Townsend led the Big West in rebounding (9.8 rpg), blocked shots (1.2 bpg) and second in field goal percentage (.525) ... In his last ten games, Townsend averaged 12.5 rpg ... Averaged 10.1 ppg ... Led the team and the league in double-doubles (10) ... Grabbed ten or rebounds in 20 of the 30 games ... Averaged 10.1 ppg ... Blocked a school record 37 shots ... Can shoot the ball from the perimeter, in addition to rebounding and blocking shots.

* Deon Tresvant became the first player in Matador school history to lead the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) although he did not start one game last year ... A dynamic three-point shooter ... Had 83 three-pointers last year, second best in the Big West and second all-time for a single season at CSUN ... Shot .413 from behind the arc, and .479 overall ... Made at least one three-pointer in 29 of 30 games, and scored in double figures in 20 games, all in a reserve role.

* Josh Jenkins led the Big West in assists per game (6.4 apg, 191 assists) ... His assist total was third-best for a single season at CSUN, and #9 in the nation last year) ... Also scored 10.5 ppg ... Also collected a team-leading 49 steals (1.6 spg), third-best in the league ... Second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.62).

* There is plenty of veteran experience with three-year starter Rob Haynes at the off-guard and small forward position, along with three-point specialist Rodrigue Mels, and forwards Tony Osunsanmi, Therin Taylor, Evan Scott and Michael Lizarraga.

* A quartet of redshirt players will be eligible this year ... Willie Galick, who started 36 games in two seasons at Pepperdine, is penciled in as a starter at power forward, along with Jermaine Smtih, a 6-9, 220-pound forward who sat out last year with a knee injury ... Smith is healthy this year ... Mark Hill, a transfer from Tulsa, will be eligible in December ... Hill played two seasons at Tulsa ... Hill and redshirt freshman Matthew Wallace will provide depth at the point-guard position.

* Cal State Northridge also recruited size and speed along the front line with the addtion of 7-foot center Xavier Crawford and 6-foot-6 forward Vincent Cordell.

* Kenny Daniels is another incoming recruit who gives Cal State Northridge another outside shooting threat besides Deon Tresvant, Rob Haynes and Rodrigue Mels. Dallas Rutherford is a freshman point-guard with great potential.

* The Matadors have also beefed up their schedule with games at Stanford (Nov. 18), at New Mexico (Nov. 24) and at UCLA (Dec. 7).

* CSUN has been among the national leaders in steals in recent years and this year should be no exception. Last year, the Matadors led the conference in steals (9.2 spg).