Written by Steve Cereghino
With CSUN’s men’s basketball roster full of nearly all freshmen and sophomores, returning starters Josh Greene and Stephan Hicks will be looked upon to lead the Matadors to success.
“It’s been really good to watch them mature and grow,” said head coach Bobby Braswell. “As their careers have developed and grown, they’ve been able to step up a little bit more, and that comes from having the success they both had last year.”
Greene, who averaged 12.4 points per game a season ago, is not only one of the returning leading scorers, but also is one of only two juniors on the team. With the amount of experience he has gained, he has embraced the role of leading a very a young and hungry CSUN team.
“I just need to bring the energy and be a vocal leader,” Greene said. “I need to set a tone each game and each practice and just be the focal point and do everything that I can.”
After leading the Matadors in scoring at 15.1 points per game and rebounding with 7.1 rebounds per game, Hicks is looking to continue his stellar play while in the upcoming season.
“The team is looking good. A lot of guys are close,” Hicks said. “We are really jelling together. Even though we are still young, we have guys with a lot of experience from Canada and last year.”
Hicks, who was honored as the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year, ranked third in the Big West in rebounds per game, fifth with an .813 free throw percentage and fifth with 2.79 offensive rebounds per game.
Hicks opened the eyes of many fans, players and coaches during his rookie season, including Braswell.
“When a guy can play the way he plays, and the way he stepped up last year as a freshman, he naturally garners the respect of these guys,” said Braswell.
Greene has showed a lot of growth and promise in the preseason, and has earned the support of both his teammates and coaches to lead the ripe Matadors.
Over the past two seasons, Greene has continued to improve his game to become a top performer for the Matadors. But, the junior guard is now centered on making sure the team is as good as it can be.
“To be honest, the last few seasons have really been about him and his growth and development,” Braswell said. “And Josh is very competitive, wanting to be the best player he can be. Now, it’s more of him wanting this team to be as good as we can be, and that’s the part I appreciate.”
Greene and Hicks look to improve on CSUN’s 7-21 record from last season, which had the Matadors ranked last in the Big West conference.
“I’m excited,” said Greene. “The chemistry and vibe is different from last year. I’m looking for us to win the Big West this year.”