The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team may have lost plenty of talent from last year’s squad, but they have brought new faces to the program that should significantly help the team.
Rashaun McLemore, Lenny Daniel and Dathan Lyles have all transferred to Northridge and brought with them a successful and winning pedigree.
The team lost depth at both the guard and forward positions with both Tremaine Townsend and Deon Tresvant graduating. The loss of Townsend, who led the team in rebounding and was the anchor of the defense last season, was especially difficult for the Matadors.
Lenny Daniel has the tough job of replacing Townsend but feels as though he can make a difference with the team.
“I’m ready for the challenge. I feel like I can come in and give this team what it needs, whether it’s scoring, block shots or hustle plays,” Daniel said.
Daniel is a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward who can be a versatile player for the Matadors. He brings athleticism on both sides of the court. Last year, Daniel averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while leading the Coffeyville Junior College to its eighth conference title in nine years.
“I can run quick, jump, rebound and block shots. I can help the team in more than one way, not just with my scoring,” said Daniel.
Along with senior center/forward Willie Galick, Daniel will assist in strengthening the frontcourt. The backcourt also lost some really good players, but holes have been filled there as well.
Rashaun McLemore is a 6-foot-5 guard/forward that has the ability to take you off the dribble or back you down in the paint. He can play the point, shooting guard or small forward, and matches up defensively at all three positions.
Daniel and McLemore played together in high school at Mt. Zion Academy in Durham, N.C., so there is chemistry there already. McLemore also brings solid experience with him, having played Division-I basketball at Ball State.
“I played against some really good competition, so I think that will help make a difference coming to Northridge,” McLemore said.
He was a McDonald’s All-American nominee in high school, averaging 16 points, five assists and four rebounds per game in his senior year.
To take some pressure off of him, the Matadors also brought in Dathan Lyles. Lyles is a 5-foot-11, 160-pound point guard who aided in a national championship on the junior college level last year for Salt Lake Community College.
Lyles averaged 9.6 points per game and led the team in steals with over two per game. He shows up in big games as well. Last year in the national semi-final game, Lyles scored 17 points and shot 60 percent from downtown.
“Last year matured me in a lot of ways. I can help the Matadors with my experience at the championship level,” Dyles said. “I learned that nothing comes easy, you have to take it, get on the floor and win those hustle plays.”
CSUN put themselves on the public’s consciousness last season with their performance in the NCAA Tournament. This year they could prove that they were not a one-hit wonder and that they belong in the national picture.