Gomatadors.com continues its pre-season reports on the 2013-14 men's basketball season
Monday (10/7) - Faith Carries Trevone Williams After Father's Death
Wednesday (10/9) - The Matadome … How the old building got its name
Friday (10/11) - Practice, Practice, Practice … An update on pre-season drills
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications
Northridge, Calif. – When you walk into the parents' home of CSUN basketball player Stephen Maxwell in Reseda, you immediately notice a large wall that is decorated with college degrees.
Academics are a major focal point in the Maxwell family.
Stephen Maxwell has two sisters who have gained outstanding academic distinction in the classroom. Jessica graduated from Occidental College and earned her Ph.D in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Jessica is now a Visiting Assistant Professor in Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California's (Berkeley) Department of Art History.
Jessica's monographic dissertation was titled: Heterogeneous Objects: The Sculptures of Martin Puryear which explores the central analogy between subject-making and object-making in Puryear's studio work.
Stephen's other sister, Tiffany, is a highly successful costume designer/stylist specializing in custom, handmade garments primarily for stage and music videos. In 2008, Tiffany graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif.
His brother, Kevin, is an accomplished singer from the swing and jazz era (like Frank Sinatra) and is currently recording a CD.
Stephen's mother (Darlene) works for Kaiser Hospital while his father (Kevin) is an administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Stephen always keeps in constant contact with his parents, particularly his mom. "She reminds me everyday about the importantance of an education," said Maxwell. "She is always asking me 'are you doing what you're suppose to be doing in school?' … My response is always 'yes, mom.' … She cares more about education than anything. I really admire her for that."
Maxwell is a Communication major at Cal State Northridge. Although he is admittedly shy and reserved, Maxwell says "someday I want to be a studio television analyst to let people know who I am and what I want to say. I think I am a pretty good public speaker at this point."
Maxwell added "This year I want to make sure I communicate with everybody on the team. I want to be more of a vocal leader. I want to help everybody contribute to the team's success."
Right now, the game of basketball is proving to be a perfect communication vehicle for Maxwell. In just two seasons at CSUN, Maxwell has emerged as one of the top players as both a scorer and rebounder in he Big West Conference. Last year, Maxwell averaged 14.6 points (#10 in the BWC) and 7.4 rebounds per game (#2 in the BWC).
Maxwell was the only CSUN player to start all 31 games last year. That helped him gain Honorable Mention All-Big West Conference honors. Against UC Santa Barbara, Maxwell poured in career-highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds.
"I'm a very physical and athletic player who can play both the small and power forward positions," said Maxwell. "I believe I can both score and rebound along with the ability to defend. I want to show my versatility in the Big West Conference."
At 6-feet-7, and 220-pounds of muscle, Maxwell resembles a wide receiver in the NFL.
"I used to play football in high school which obviously is a contact sport," said the soft-spoken Maxwell. "Playing physical basketball doesn't matter to me. I just like the competiveness of the game of basketball."
As a student-athlete at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, college recruiters didn't break down the front door to offer him scholarships. However, Cal State Northridge offered him a chance to compete at the NCAA Division I level.
"I wasn't a big name in high school but the CSUN coaching staff took a chance on me," Maxwell recalls. "The opportunity allowed me a chance to work hard, play hard, and show people what I could do."
Injuries dogged Maxwell during the very early portions of his freshman season in 2011-12. When Maxwell finally reached the court, injury free, his first game immediately opened the eyes of any doubters. Maxwell poured in 20 points in his first collegiate game against Cal State Bakersfield.
"During my freshman season, I basically showed people what potential I had in competing, playing hard and showing people what I could do," said Maxwell.
This past summer, Maxwell worked hard to increase the versatility of his game.
"I worked on my face-up game, and not to be a one-dimensional player," said Maxwell. "I worked on increasing my shooting range so that I could be a tougher player for defenders to guard. I am left-handed so my opponents know that my initial move might be to the left. This year I have been working on my moves to the right which will make it more difficult for teams to defend me."
The regular season in 2013-14 doesn't start until Nov. 8 when the Matadors host Hope International in a 7:05 pm tipoff at the Matadome. Maxwell senses a positive buzz and high expectations about CSUN basketball this year amongst the student body and the community.
"First of all, I want to thank our fans for their appreciation and their support in the past," said Maxwell. "I just want people to know that the team has worked very hard this summer. We have the talent to be successful. I'm asking fans to continue to support us again this year. I promise we won't let them down."