Senior tandem look to close out legacy

    Senior forward Tre Hale-Edmerson, the more vocal between him and senior guard Landon Drew, works as pick and roll compliment to Drew. (Juan Pardo/The Sundial.)

    With last year’s seniors Stephan Hicks, Stephen Maxwell and Devonte Elliott gone, the CSUN men’s basketball will rely on seniors Landon Drew and Tre Hale-Edmerson.

    “Without their senior leadership we will not be as good,” CSUN men’s basketball head coach Reggie Theus said. “Landon has been sort of steady. Tre has been phenomenal. He’s really been helping me coach on the floor”

    Theus views the two as team players who possess great understanding and are very unselfish.

    “We’re very young and we need leadership,” Theus said. “If they give us good leadership between Landon, Tre, and Olalekan [Ajayi] who are all seniors, it will help the young guys get better.”

    In total, the team has three seniors with Olalekan Ayaji, a graduate student from Eastern Michigan who is eligible to play this season. He joins Drew and Hale-Edmerson in leading the young crop of talent on the roster.

    Drew averaged 4.5 assists per game last season. When analyzing both players’ games, Theus said Drew is seen a pure extension of himself on the floor and Hale-Edmerson as someone who knows what everyone is doing.Landon-Drew

    “[Drew’s] personality, demeanor, has always been steady for us. He’s a guy that I’ve always been able to count on to have a word of reason,” Theus said. “It’s going to be a challenge for them. I think how the team goes is partly all their responsibility and if we’re together as a team then they’ll be one of the reason we get along so well or they’ll be one of the reasons we didn’t get along.”.

    Last season Elliott switched positions to help Hale-Edmerson in the front court but most of the responsibility was on Hale-Edmerson who averaged 1.3 blocks per game.

    “In the past Tre’s had attitude issues, and body language issues but he’s got all that stuff under control and he’s been a real help to me on the floor.”

    “I enjoy Tre and his ability,” Theus said. “He knows everyone’s position on the floor so when things happen sometimes I don’t even need to say anything. He does it, which is a big help and Landon does the same thing.”

    Hale-Edmerson shot 32 percent from the 3-point line last season.

    “I’ve told Tre that stretch fours are essential for me,” Theus said. “That’s the best part for me because I’ve coached them for two years so they know what the land mines are for me.”

    Whether the returning seniors can shoulder the load is yet to be determined, but it’s being met with great optimism.

    Their leadership has also been integral for the newer players who are getting acclimated to the style of play and culture of CSUN.

    “Tre is a little more vocal and gets his point across,” junior guard Kendall Smith said. “With Landon, he’s a guy that is always there to comfort guys when their down and he’s very helpful to our team. Just their leadership everyday and coming in and not being new to situations. They help us out a lot.”

    Smith, a transfer from UNLV, will sit out until the spring semester per NCAA transfer rules. He joins a back court with at least five different guards who can play for the upcoming season.

    “I think we have a lot of options with each and every guy,” Smith said. “We’re all versatile and can play multiple positions. We just really make match up problems for other teams because guys can do so many different things.”

    Despite a guard heavy backcourt, one man still commands respect in the front court.

    “Tre’s a great person and a great leader,” freshman guard Tavrion Dawson said. “He has a very unique personality. He always thinks he’s right and most of the time he is right so he’s going to argue his point until he wins. Landon is more of a quiet leader. He works hard and we just follow his lead.”

    The relationship between Theus and Hale-Edmerson has been a polarizing one but in his final season, the two seem to be on the same accord.

    “As long as he’s working hard on his end, I don’t have a problem with him telling everybody what else is going on, but he’s got to take care of his own business first,” Theus said. “Along with telling the guys what’s going on, that means you have to do things right yourself. That’s where he and I kind of battle a little bit. He has a tendency to float.”

    While the Matadors have an influx of talent going into next season, most of the players are unproven and inexperienced.

    “I’m going to put an awful lot of pressure on them to make sure things go well,” Theus said. “I want these guys to have great senior years and have an opportunity to win and move on.”

    With last year’s seniors Stephen Hicks, Stephen Maxwell and Devonte Elliott gone, the CSUN men’s basketball will rely on seniors Landon Drew and Tre Hale-Edmerson.

    “Without their senior leadership we will not be as good,” CSUN men’s basketball head coach Reggie Theus said. “Landon has been sort of steady. Tre has been phenomenal. He’s really been helping me coach on the floor”

    Theus views the two as team players who possess great understanding and are very unselfish.

    “We’re very young and we need leadership,” Theus said. “If they give us good leadership between Landon, Tre, and Olalekan [Ajayi] who are all seniors, it will help the young guys get better.”

    In total, the team has three seniors with Olalekan Ayaji, a graduate student from Eastern Washington who is eligible to play this season. He joins Drew and Hale-Edmerson in leading the young crop of talent on the roster.

    Drew averaged 4.5 assists per game last season. When analyzing both players’ games, Theus said Drew is seen a pure extension of himself on the floor and Hale-Edmerson as someone who knows what everyone is doing.

    “[Drew’s] personality, demeanor, has always been steady for us. He’s a guy that I’ve always been able to count on to have a word of reason,” Theus said. “It’s going to be a challenge for them. I think how the team goes is partly all their responsibility and if we’re together as a team then they’ll be one of the reason we get along so well or they’ll be one of the reasons we didn’t get along.”.

    Last season Elliott switched positions to help Hale-Edmerson in the front court but most of the responsibility was on Hale-Edmerson who averaged 1.3 blocks per game.

    “In the past Tre’s had attitude issues, and body language issues but he’s got all that stuff under control and he’s been a real help to me on the floor.”

    “I enjoy Tre and his ability,” Theus said. “He knows everyone’s position on the floor so when things happen sometimes I don’t even need to say anything. He does it, which is a big help and Landon does the same thing.”

    Hale-Edmerson shot 32 percent from the 3-point line last season.

    “I’ve told Tre that stretch fours are essential for me,” Theus said. “That’s the best part for me because I’ve coached them for two years so they know what the land mines are for me.”

    Whether the returning seniors can shoulder the load is yet to be determined, but it’s being met with great optimism.

    Their leadership has also been integral for the newer players who are getting acclimated to the style of play and culture of CSUN.

    “Tre is a little more vocal and gets his point across,” junior guard Kendall Smith said. “With Landon, he’s a guy that is always there to comfort guys when their down and he’s very helpful to our team. Just their leadership everyday and coming in and not being new to situations. They help us out a lot.”

    Smith, a transfer from UNLV, will sit out until the spring semester per NCAA transfer rules. He joins a back court with at least five different guards who can play for the upcoming season.

    “I think we have a lot of options with each and every guy,” Smith said. “We’re all versatile and can play multiple positions. We just really make match up problems for other teams because guys can do so many different things.”

    Despite a guard heavy backcourt, one man still commands respect in the front court.

    “Tre’s a great person and a great leader,” freshman guard Tavrion Dawson said. “He has a very unique personality. He always thinks he’s right and most of the time he is right so he’s going to argue his point until he wins. Landon is more of a quiet leader. He works hard and we just follow his lead.”

    The relationship between Theus and Hale-Edmerson has been a polarizing one but in his final season, the two seem to be on the same accord.

    “As long as he’s working hard on his end, I don’t have a problem with him telling everybody what else is going on, but he’s got to take care of his own business first,” Theus said. “Along with telling the guys what’s going on, that means you have to do things right yourself. That’s where he and I kind of battle a little bit. He has a tendency to float.”

    While the Matadors have an influx of talent going into next season, most of the players are unproven and inexperienced.

    “I’m going to put an awful lot of pressure on them to make sure things go well,” Theus said. “I want these guys to have great senior years and have an opportunity to win and move on.”

    Correction: Nov. 6, 2015

    An earlier version of this story spelled Stephen Hicks, when it is in fact, Stephan Hicks. Also, Olalekan Ayaji is a graduate transfer from Eastern Michigan, rather than the original Eastern Washington.