Nov. 15, 2010
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. - All that cheering you'll be hearing at Cal's Haas Pavilion will be from a sizable number of enthusiastic family and friends for junior guard Vinnie McGhee and senior forward Michael Lizarraga, who will be playing for the Cal State Northridge basketball team when the Matadors face defending Pac-10 champion California in a non-league men's basketball game on Tuesday night.
McGhee and Lizarraga prepped at Bay Area high schools, and when the Matadors take the court against the Golden Bears, both players will be pumped and ready to display their basketball talents.
"I'm very excited to be playing back in my home town," said McGhee, who graduated from McClymonds High School that is located in Oakland, a city that is directly adjacent to the city of Berkeley in the East Bay Area. "My uncle graduated from Cal so this game means a lot to me."
Lizarraga, who is the only deaf basketball player competing on the NCAA Division I level, hails from Dixon, Calif. which is located approximately 90 miles east of San Francisco and just west of Sacramento. Lizarraga graduated from the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, which is approximately 20 miles south of Berkeley and Oakland.
"My parents and many of my high school teammates will be attending the game," said Lizarraga, a senior who is in his fourth season on the Matador varsity. "I will always remember my high school days (California School for the Deaf). I always would hang out with my '07 classmates during lunch time or after school. I miss them."
McGhee starred at McClymonds High School in Oakland where some of the all-time great athletes in many sports graduated. The list of notable alumni include Bill Russell (Hall of Fame basketball player), former major leaguers Curt Flood, Vada Pinson and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Jimmy Hines (Olympic gold medal sprinter) and numerous former NBA players.
"I have so much pride in McClymonds High School and the school is still in my blood," said a very proud McGhee. "Mack (McClymonds HS) was all about family and it still is. My grandma and grandpa went to McClymonds and so did all my aunts and uncles. I remember our basketball games were packed with people (in the bleachers) and all my family and friends were there. That's why we call it `Mack Family.'"
McGhee certainly earned his place among the all-time greats at McClymonds High School as a guard on the basketball team. During his senior season, McGhee averaged nearly 16 points, five assists and nearly four steals per game to lead his team to a 28-4 overall record, a league title, the northern California Division I championship and the school's first appearance in the state championship. McGhee earned all-league status twice, and was the team MVP during his senior campaign.
In the classroom, McGhee was also a star. McGhee had the highest or shared the highest grade point average on the team all three of his years on the varsity team.
"This is a game that everybody has been talking about for a whole year," said McGhee. "My family and friends will be there, and even my old coaches. EVERYBODY."
Lizarraga earned "star status" when he prepped at California School for the Deaf in Fremont (just south of Berkeley and Oakland). Lizarraga was a standout student-athlete in three sports. In addition to his prowess on the basketball court, Lizarraga also played football (quarterback, tight end, wide receiver) and baseball (pitcher, first baseman, outfielder).
"My parents and many of my high school teammates will be attending the game," said Lizarraga, who gained all-league status three times and league MVP honors (senior season) in basketball in high school, and a two-time all-league performer in baseball. "I'm super excited to go back to the Bay Area."
Lizarraga Ledger ...
Michael Lizarraga (6-7, 230, Senior, Dixon, Ca) is the ONLY deaf player competing on the NCAA Division I level ... Tallied a career-high eight points (3-fof-5 from the floor) along with four rebounds in 14 minutes of play in the 2010-11 season opener at UCLA (11/12/10) ... Has played in 48 games in four seasons at Cal State Northridge, including eight starts ... Perhaps his best game of his career was an eight-point (4-for-5 from the floor) performance along with six rebounds, three blocks and two steals at then 10th-ranked Washington last season ... Listed his greatest moment was when his high school team (California School for the Deaf) beat Head Royce School after 22 years ... The person in history Michael would have most liked to have met would have been Martin Luther King, Jr. ... Loves Chinese and Mexican food, but will take a pass on seafood ... Born February 25, 1989 in Woodland, Ca.
McGhee Memo ...
Vinnie McGhee (5-10, 165, RS Junior, Oakland, Ca) averaged 7.5 ppg during his redshirt sophomore season (2009-10) at CSUN ... Scored a career-high 22 points against Seattle (1/11/10) ... Hit a team-leading 53 three-pointers (1.7 per game) last season, ninth-best in the Big West Conference ... Played in 32 games, second-best for a single season in school history ... Began his collegiate career at Sacramento State (2007-08) where he captured Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honors ... Averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 assists per game (142) at Sacramento State ... When he is relaxing, Vinnie McGhee says he listens to music (his favorite solo artist is Jay-Z), watches ESPN, and finds time to watch his favorite movies (Paid in Full/Through the Fire) ... Vinnie says he if had a million dollars, he would buy a lot of things, and also give a lot of money to West Oakland ... Born October 8, 1989 in Oakland, Ca.