Braswell’s ailing son is top priority for the time being

Gilberto Manzano

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Head coach Bobby Braswell speaks to reporters in a post-game interview at Cal State Fullerton. Braswell missed the prior game against UC Riverside to be with ailing son. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pobre contributing photographer.

The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team is going through a rough patch after losing its last two games and falling to 2-4 in the Big West Conference.

It won’t get any easier for the Matadors (7-12 overall), who host Long Beach State tonight, as their head coach doesn’t have basketball as a priority for the time being.

Things haven’t been easy for Bobby Braswell and his family after the coach’s eldest son, Jeffrey Braswell, went into critical care following a lung collapse two weeks ago. Jeffrey, 23, underwent surgery and had piece of one of his lungs detached.

Thankfully for the Braswell family, Jeffrey seems to be on the road to recovery.

“(Jeffrey) is improving…getting better,” Braswell said. “Hopefully things continue to get better and hopefully he will be able to come home soon.”
Bobby Braswell has tried to be by his son’s side as much as he can, which has caused him to miss games. Braswell didn’t coach against UC Riverside (Jan. 14) and Seattle (Jan. 19).

The struggling Matadors may be feeling the toll of their coach’s absence.

“There is no doubt that it has some effect (on the team) when I’m not able to be at practice everyday,” Braswell said.

Most of the Matadors understand Braswell’s situation and expect him to be more concerned with his son’s well-being than with trying to get another Big West title.

“Life is not all about basketball,” forward Willie Galick said. “Especially when you have your own son with his life hanging by a thread almost. I expect him to be more focused on his family.”

“I would not want to be selfish and ask him to put more time into us. He is (with us) more than with his own family. So when his family is in dire need of him, he needs to be there. We as a team understand that.”

It’s the second consecutive season that Northridge has had to deal with non-basketball issues. Last January, Jeffrey Braswell and former Matadors Deon Tresvant and Dallas Rutherford were arrested for stealing from a Best Buy in Porter Ranch, Calif.

“It’s another season of having to handle some things off the court, as well as handling some things on the court,” Braswell said.

The first issue CSUN needs to handle on the hardwood is a 49er team that was the preseason favorite to win the Big West Championship.

“(Tonight is) a must-win situation in my mind,” Galick said. “You don’t want to go down 2-5 (in conference).”

Long Beach State (8-11, 2-4 Big West) is also struggling and is tied with CSUN for seventh place in the Big West standings.

Senior Mark Hill expects the 49ers to come out swinging since both teams are in need of a conference win.

“Both teams are kind of struggling but this game is going to be hyped,” Hill said. “They want to come in here trying to win and we want to win. So it’s going to be a battle.”

Hill, who scored a career-high 24 points on Saturday, was a big reason why the Matadors were almost able to steal a road win against Cal Poly.

“It’s really not about me scoring,” Hill said after being asked if he will look to score against Long Beach State. “It’s about us playing together. I’ll be happy if I score two points and get a win.”

Getting a victory against the 49ers will surely get some stress away from Bobby Braswell and hopefully bring some joy to his family.

“I have a strong belief that it’s going to all work out in the long run for my family,” Bobby Braswell said.