It’s senior night for the CSUN women’s basketball team. The Matadors are matched up against UC Irvine and it’s the last time senior Katrina Thompson will be able to don a Matador uniform at home.
Although a sad day for some, this is a reminder of the best part about basketball for Jasmine Erving: not the attention or glory but the relationships she has built throughout her life with her coaches and teammates.
Erving is the 6-foot-2 starting center for the Matadors who led the team in scoring average with 13.6 points per game and was named to the 2009-10 All-Big West Second Team.
To her opponents, she is a physically dominating enforcer in the paint who asserts herself on both ends of the basketball court.
Erving ranked fifth in the Big West Conference in scoring average, grabbed a career-high 5.5 rebounds per game and ranked second in the Big West in blocks at 1.2 per game.
However, to her teammates and coaches and anyone who knows her off the court, she is known as the woman on the team with a big heart and an outgoing personality.
“She likes to have fun, she’s social, she likes to include everyone and do a lot of things together, which helps bond the team,” senior forward Analee Viena-Lota said. “She’s the girliest girl on the team, which is a good thing but she doesn’t play like a girl on the court.”
For Erving, who grew up an only child in a single-parent home, basketball is more than just a sport, it’s also an extension of her family.
“Basketball is my life, it’s my family, my friends, my teammates,” Erving said. “I’ve been on a lot of teams and I would consider all of the girls that I’ve played with as a part of my family since I don’t come from a very big family. All of my teammates I consider my sisters.”
As for this season, head coach Jason Flowers has said he “expects the most out of the people who could give the most,” and it is clear Erving will play an instrumental role if the Matadors are to have success this year.
Erving embraces the extra responsibilities and knows the importance her play means to the team. She doesn’t let the moment get too big for her and looks forward to the challenges that lay ahead.
“My thing is just making sure I meet the expectations which my teammates hold me accountable for, since I know I’m a big part of the team and I don’t want to let any of them or the coaches down,” she said. “When I go into a game I don’t think about how I want to be the leading scorer or how I want the best stats.”
With a new coaching staff in place, everyone on the team has extra reasons to be optimistic for what the 2010-11 season has in store. Erving is especially quick to point out the new motto Flowers and the rest of the staff have brought to the team.
“The phrase that we always say is ‘one team, one family,’ Erving said with an exuberant smile. “It’s a refreshing theme because in the past years, I haven’t felt that way recently and it’s good to have coaches that are close to you and that believe in you.”
As for the future, Erving is majoring in sociology and is hoping to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
“It’s a lot of pressure since everyone is counting on me. I’ve gone so far already and… to not make it would be my biggest fear,” Erving said. “But I’m going to make it. I’m not sure the exact path I want to take yet, but I know I want to do something that has to do with kids. Down the line, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.”