Last year (2010-11), Cal State Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell recruited eight freshmen players into the Matador basketball program. This year, the trend continues. Braswell has brought in another seven freshmen and along with two redshirt freshmen from 2010-11.
Cal State Northridge is the youngest team among more than 330 NCAA Division I schools in the country. Of the 18 players on this year's roster, there are only 12 years of collegiate basketball experience, an average of 0.67 years. Navy is second nationally at 0.70 years and UC Irvine is third at 0.71 years. These statistics factor in the team's total years of previous collegiate experience with the number of players on the roster.
The 18-man Matador roster has only three seniors and NO juniors. The rest of the team is composed of underclassmen (six sophomores, seven freshmen, two redshirt freshmen).
Cal State Northridge will obviously be a young, energetic team in 2011-12 that will have to compensate for the loss of graduated seniors Lenny Daniel and Rashaun McLemore who dominated the scoring and rebounding load for CSUN last year. Daniel proved to be one of the best players in the modern era of Matador basketball. Daniel finished his two-year CSUN career (2009-10 and 2010-11) with his name appearing 13 times in the CSUN record book. Last year, Daniel averaged 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Daniel led the Big West Conference in field goal percentage (.564), was third in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and blocks (38, 1.2 bpg) and fourth in scoring (16.4 ppg). Daniel produced 17 double-doubles during the year, and grabbed ten or more rebounds in 18 games, including a career-high 15 rebounds against Air Force.
McLemore chipped in 14.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
For their efforts, Daniel gained first team All-Big West Conference honors while McLemore gained second team accolades.
Frankie Eteuati (6-10, 190, Sophomore, Center, Los Angeles, Ca) will be relied upon to help patrol the boards for Cal State Northridge in 2011-12. Eteuati is CSUN's tallest player on the 16-man roster who finished with 21 blocks in 2010-11, eighth-best on the team. His best rebounding game was seven against Cal State Bakersfield. Other veteran frontline returnees include John Hayward-Mayhew (6-8, 220, Senior, Forward, Eugene, Or), Thomas Jacobs (6-6, 215, Sophomore, Forward, San Diego, Ca) and Jordan Mitchell (6-9, 210, Sophomore, Forward, Gardena, Ca). Hayward-Mayhew was a starter in five games last year and that included a seven-rebound performance against UCLA in the season opener. Jacobs came on strong during the final six games of the 2010-11 season. Jacobs averaged 6.2 rebounds per game during that span including a season-high nine boards at Eastern Washington and eight boards against Big West Conference champion UC Santa Barbara. Mitchell was a starter in 13 of the last 16 games of the 2010-11 campaign.
The list of newcomers includes Ari Feldman (6-9, 220, Senior, Forward/Center, Santa Monica, Ca), Stephen Maxwell (6-5, 215, Freshman, Forward, Woodland Hills), Trevone Williams (6-6, 220, Freshman, Forward, Los Angeles, Ca) and Teddy Agbonwaneten (6-3, 215, Freshman, Forward, Los Angeles, Ca). Feldman originally began his CSUN career as a member of the nationally-ranked Matadors volleyball team. Maxwell hails from Taft High School (Woodland Hills, Ca) where he gained all-league and all-city honors. Williams gained numerous honors in helping Westchester High School (Los Angeles, Ca) to a 115-12 record during his four-year tenure. Agbonwaneten is a small forward from Bravo Medical Magnet School.
The Matador backcourt will certainly be a strength of the team in 2011-12. Vinnie McGhee (5-10, 170, Senior, Guard, Oakland, Ca), Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Sophomore, Guard, Los Angeles, Ca), Aqeel Quinn (6-4, 190, Sophomore, Guard), Lawndale, Ca and Allen Jiles IV (6-4, 200, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, Los Angeles, Ca) will form the nucleus of a strong backcourt in 2011-12. McGhee is a two-year veteran (62 games, 27 as a starter) who has the ability to play both the off-guard and point-guard positions for Cal State Northridge. McGhee was the team leader in three-pointers (51) last year for Cal State Northridge. In 25 of the 32 games, McGhee produced at least one three-pointer. McGhee can score and pass the ball by evidence of his season-high 20 points against Cal Poly and his career-high eight assists against UC Davis. As the season progressed in 2011-12, Greene got better and better. Greene, a shooting-guard, scored in double-digits in eight games including a season-high 19 points (6-for-8 from the 3-point territory including the game winner with 24 seconds remaining) at Cal State Fullerton and 17 points in 22 minutes of play against UC Riverside. Greene shot .827 from the free throw line. Quinn, a point-guard, can shoot. In the last 16 games of the 2010-11 season, Quinn hit .483 (14-for-29) from behind the arc. Jiles is a defensive standout who proved to be a valuable reserve in 2010-11.
The list of new guards is outstanding. The list includes Allan Guei (5-9, 160, Freshman, Guard, Compton, Ca), Stephan Hicks (6-5, 190, Guard/Forward, RS Freshman, Thousand Oaks, Ca), Davon Potts (6-2, 175, Freshman, Guard, Cerritos, Ca), Lonnie Watson (6-4, 195, Guard/Forward, RS Freshman, Paso Robles, Ca), Justin Yeargin (6-2, 180, Freshman, Guard, Oakland, Ca) and Ishmael Godfrey (5-11, 175, Guard, Hawthorne, Ca). Guei is a lighting-fast point-guard from Compton High School (Los Angeles, Ca) where he averaged 20.1 points, five rebounds, four assists and nearly three steals per game last year. Hicks is a redshirt freshman who can play both the off-guard and forward positions. Potts hails from Gahr High School (Cerritos, Ca) where he led the team to the 2011 CIF Southern Section Division 2A championship, averaging more than 22 points per game. Watson is another redshirt freshman, who like Hicks, can play both the guard and forward positions. Yeargin helped Bishop O'Dowd HS (Oakland, Ca) to a 33-2 record, the league title as well as the North Coast Section and Northern California championships last year. Godfrey is quick guard who will depth to the Matador roster.
"There will be a lot of coaching and teaching this year," said Braswell. "We'll have to show a lot of patience but I like the energy of this team. I like the fact they are listening and are coachable."
Let the games begin!!!
Last year, Cal State Northridge men's basketball was pegged to finish eighth in the annual Big West Conference pre-season media poll ... The Matadors proved the experts wrong, finishing alone in third place (9-7) and eventually landing a spot in the semi-finals of the Big West Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim ... This year (2011-12), the pre-season results are the same. Cal State Northridge is predicted to finish eighth in this year's conference. CSUN tallied 61 points to finish just behind UC Davis (63 points) in seventh place, and six points ahead of ninth place UC Irvine (55 points) ... Long Beach State was selected the favorite to claim the 2011-12 Big West men's basketball title. The 49ers collected 20 first-place votes from the 24-member voting panel for a total of 212 points. LBS welcomes back four starters from the 2010-11 squad that finished 22-12 overall and won the Big West regular season title by four games with a 12-4 record ... UC Santa Barbara has presented the biggest roadblock to Long Beach State in its quest to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos have knocked off the 49ers in the Big West Tournament championship game the last two seasons, earning the conference's automatic bid to the Big Dance. UCSB was picked to finish second in this year's media poll, receiving the four remaining first-place votes and 196 points ... Cal Poly was picked third in the poll with 158 points ... Cal State Fullerton finished fourth in the media poll with 131 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth place with 114 points, Pacific with 91 points in sixth place, UC Davis with 62 points in seventh place, Cal State Northridge in eighth place with 61 points, and UC Irvine with 55 points to finish in ninth place in the media poll.
USC leads the series with Cal State Northridge, 4-1 ... However, in the last three games, the games have been decided by nine points or less ... And in their last meeting (11/20/05), Cal State Northridge scored a 81-76 overtime decision over the Trojans at the Los Angeles Sports Arena ... In the season opener (2005-06) for both teams, the Matadors stunned the favored Trojans as Mike Efevberha scored a game-high 20 points while Jonathan Heard added 15 points in 28 minutes off the bench ... Cal State Northridge jumped to a 42-32 halftime lead, but the Trojans outscored the visiting Matadors, 38-28, in the second half ... However, Cal State Northridge dominated play in the five-minute overtime, 11-6 ... Efevberha and Jayme Miller each collected a team-high five rebounds ... "That was a special night." remembers Matador head coach Bobby Braswell ... "We had a lot of new players since he had lost quite a few seniors from the previous year. We didn't know how good we could be, but again, I told the guys that this wass another opportunity to do something special. The players responded. We defemedd realy well. The team kept fighting, and we won a tough game on the road against a good Pac-10 (now Pac-12) school."
USC, a participant in the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 19-15 record, will have a different look in 2011-12 ... The Trojans return only two players who played significant minutes during the 2010-11 campaign ... The team's top returner is sophomore Maurice Jones (5-7, 155, Sophomore, Guard, Saginaw, Mi) who averaged 9.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last year ... Kevin O'Neill is in his third season as head coach at USC with a mark of 35-29.
Cal State Northridge scored early and often to hand Cal Baptist a 86-51 beat in an exhibiition game on Nov. 5 at The Matadome ... At the 13:09 mark of the first half, the Matadors held a 13-9 lead, and then scored 12 straight points to take a 25-9 lead at 11:41 ... Cal State Northridge enjoyed a 49-22 halftime lead ... The Matador lead ballooned to as many as 36 points, 77-41, with 7:02 remaining in the game ... Sophomores Josh Greene and Aqeel Quinn combined for 33 points to lead the Matador attack ... Greene tallied a game-high 18 points (4-for-7 from th floor) and 5-for-6 from beyond the arc ... Freshman Allen Guei added 13 points ... John Hayward-Mayhew and Thomas Jacobs each tallied a team-high eight rebounds ... Cal State Northridge outrebounded Cal Baptist, 51-37.
Challenging is always the trademark of the CSUN basketball schedule, and this year is no exception ... The non-league schedule includes games at Pac-12 schools USC (season opener on Nov. 11, 2011) and at Washington (12/22/11) ... Both the Trojans and Huskies competed in the NCAA Tournament last year ... The CSUN game at USC is the second straight season that the Matadors have faced a Pac-12 school in the season opener ... Last year (2010-11), Cal State Northridge opened the regular season at UCLA ... The Matadors will have eleven non-league games in addition to its 16-game Big West Conference schedule ... The conference schedule will open on Dec. 29 against UC Irvine ... The game against the Anteaters will be among 12 home games at The Matadome in 2011-12.
During the past four seasons, Cal State Northridge basketball has been featured prominently on television (29 times to be exact), including games on CBS, Fox Sports Net and ESPNU ... During CSUN's march to the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, Matador games were televised a school record nine times ... Matador basketball fans will have the opportunity to see Cal State Northridge three times on television during the 2011-12 men's basketball season ... On November 15, the Matadors will be featured nationally on ESPN against the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. The game will air at 1 a.m. Pacific Time (11 p.m. HT, November 14) at the Stan Sheriff Arena ... Then on January 21, 2012 when the Matadors travel to Cal Poly, the Big West game will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket) at 5:30 p.m. ... On February 25, the Matadors conference game at UC Irvine will be televised on Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket). Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ... Depending on the team's success in 2011-12, the Matadors could be featured another two times on television. That would include a "Wild Card" selected game on Saturday, February 4, when the Matadors travel to Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. The game could be televised either on ESPNU or Fox Sports West. Other games also under consideration on February 4 are UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis at UC Riverside, or Pacific at UC Irvine ... Another possible telecast would be on Saturday, February 18, when Cal State Northridge participates in the tenth annual ESPN sponsored SEARS BracketBusters event. Thirteen nationally televised contests will be selected from a pool of 142 teams from 16 conferences and will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3. The SEARS BracketBusters matchups, game times and network assignments will be announced on Monday, January 30.