Northridge, Calif.—Comprehensive Excellence is not found in the win or the loss column. It extends itself beyond the hardwood and transcends itself into habits.
In the last four years, the CSUN men's basketball team Grade Point Average (GPA) never fell much below a 3.0. This semester was no different. In fact, with the obstacles this team faced, having missed three straight weeks of school, the results are ever more astonishing.
What made it so astonishing is that 80% of the men's basketball players finished the semester above a 3.0 GPA. Twelve players on the current roster have a GPA ranging from 3.0 to 3.8.
"We preach excellence on and off the field," head Matador head coach Reggie Theus. "This is a group that does not make excuses and it's a group that works hard." This roster has multiple players on the Dean's List. While setting records on the court, these records mean just as much. Every player with significant minutes also has had success in the classroom.
"Being on the Dean's List really means a lot because of how hard I've worked," said Josh Greene, who has several school records this year including career three-pointers made. "I give a lot of credit to the coaching staff for keeping me accountable in the classroom." "When I told my mom that I made the Dean's List, she cried tears of joy. She was more joyous than any other on-court accomplishments I have accomplished. This means more to her than any victory."
Stephan Hicks is beginning to explore his graduate degree opportunities as a junior in the classroom while staying on track to break numerous basketball records on the floor. Hicks still holds this one is the highest regard.
"To me, graduating early means a lot," stated Hicks. "It has given me the opportunity to be able to start on my Master's Degree. I don't know what to expect as a graduate student, but I know it will be tougher. I am extremely blessed to be not only successful on the basketball court, but more importantly, in the classroom."
Hicks also noted, "Knowing that I have the opportunity break school records excited me because it is a rare opportunity. I have to be humble in the process. But my academic success will last longer and have a long-term impact beyond the game of basketball."
Greene and Hicks are not alone. In fact, all five starters finished with a GPA above a 3.0. The bench players have also carried their weight.
Aaron Parks has the credentials to potentially be Freshman of the Year in the Big West Conference. What separates him from most of the pack would be his 3.8 GPA in his first full collegiate semester.
This semester was a challenging semester for me having this be my first time away from home," said Parks. "It took a lot of focus, dedication, and time to be successful. Most importantly, I had a lot of assistance from my tutors and mentors, which helped me be successful."
"Academic success means a lot to me because I have family back at home who depend on me to be successful in every aspect of life. Academics mean a lot to my family. When I shared the good news, they were so happy and proud. It feels good to start on the right track."
All Matador players who received significant minutes on the basketball court finished the academic semester with a GPA higher than a 3.0.
While the Cal State Northridge men's basketball team continues to achieve records on the court, they have set many off the court.
For the first time, a transfer student transferred into a graduate program. Two juniors will graduate with a year of eligibility and will pursue a graduate degree.
This semester, once again, CSUN men's basketball will be sending multiple representatives to receive the prestigious Varsity N Award later this spring. Comprehensive Excellence is not only found on the hardwood; it is found in the character and the achievement of our student athletes off the playing field. Success in competition will only last a short moment, but comprehensive excellence and success of the court will last a lifetime.
Comprehensive excellence is not an act, but a habit. "A" can stand for academics, but for the men's basketball team, "A" stands for a goal that each player strives to make a habit.
As Will Durant (1926) summarized Aristotle in The Story of Philosophy, "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy'" (p. 76).
By Lior Schwartzberg, Director of Basketball Operations