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. UC Irvine is second at 0.69 years. Navy is third nationally at 0.70 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!!!
Boise State leads the series with Cal State Northridge, 5-0 ... Their last meeting took place at The Matadome with the Broncos scoring a 84-75 decision on Dec. 9, 2006 ... Three of the BSU's five wins have been in Boise, Idaho ... Their last meeting in Idaho resulted in a 82-71 decision for Boise State on Feb. 18, 2006.
Boise State is off to a fast start in 2011-12 with a 2-0 record ... The Broncos have scored decisive wins over Colorado Christian (95-44) and Utah (80-59) of the Pac-12 Conference ... Four players are averaging double figures led by Anthony Drmic (6-6, 200, Freshman, G/F, Endeavor Hills, Victoria, Australia) at 15.5 ppg, Derrick Marks (6-3, 190, Freshman, Guard, Joliet, Il) at 14.5 ppg, Ryan Watkins (6-8, 247, Sophomore, Forward, Canyon Country, Ca) at 12.5 ppg and Drew Wiley (6-7, 215, Junior, Guard, McKenzie River, Or) at 10.0 ppg ... Marks has hit 10-of-12 shots from the floor for 83 percent ... As a team, Boise State is shooting .554 ... In BSU's 80-59 victory over Utah, Drmic scored 23 points ... Leon Rice is in his second season as head coach at Boise State ... Last year, the Broncos went 22-13, making Rice the winningest first-year head coach in school history.
The final score was a lot closer than the score indicated ... The USC Trojans handed the Matadors a 66-59 loss in the season opener for both teams (11/11/11) at the Galen Center ... It was a contest the Matadors could have won ... The Matadors displayed an amazing array of toughness, determination and pride even after they struggled with some early game scoring problems to dig themselves an early ditch ... Cal State Northridge started the game missing its first nine shots, and at one point was 1-for-17 from the field ... The shooting woes helped the Trojans build a 23-10 lead with 4:19 lead in the first half ... But CSUN refused to fold cutting the USC lead to only six points at 25-19 with 1:20 remaining before halftime ... Cal State Northridge was only down, 29-21, at halftime despite the fact CSUN hit only 4-of-29 shots from the floor for 14 percent ... The Matadors readjusted at halftime and demonstrated to the Trojans they were here to compete and possibly beat the Trojans for a second straight time in the six-game series ... And compete CSUN did ... Vinnie McGhee helped sparked the Matador comeback. Eight straight points by the senior guard including two three-pointers gave CSUN its first lead of the game, 52-50 with 5:25 to play ... Then Stephan Hicks, who tallied a game-high 19 points in his first collegiate game, scored on a layup with 4:49 to play to give the Matadors a 54-50, their biggest lead of the game ... But USC regained the momentum by scoring eight straight points to take a 58-54 lead with 2:17 remaining ... Cal State Northridge cut the margin to two points, 61-69, on two free throws by Thomas Jacobs with 1:16 remaining ... But USC, a team that featured two seven-footers, was able to pull away to seal the seven-point win, 66-59 ... In addition to Hicks' game-high 19 points, the redshirt freshman added a team-high eight rebounds ... The second game of the 2011-12 season took place at the University of Hawai'i (11/14/11) with the Rainbow Warriors scoring an 86-67 victory over the Matadors in an ESPN game ... Game time was 11:00 p.m. (HT) which translates to 1:00 a.m. on the West Coast ... It was a tale of two halves for Cal State Northridge ... The Matadors led by as many as seven points, 20-13, with 9:23 on the clock before halftime ... But the Matadors couldn't maintain its intensity in the second half, allowing Hawai'i 49 points ... Stephan Hicks, the redshirt freshman, provide the offensive and defensive spark for CSUN ... The redshirt freshman tallied his first collegiate double--double with 22 points and 17 rebounds against Hawai'i ... The 17 boards were only seven short of the school record set by George Robnett vs UC Irvine on Jan. 16, 1971 ... Vinnie McGhee tallied eleven points, his second straight double-digit scoring effort following his 14 points in the season opener at USC (11/11/11).
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.