Last summer, Bobby Braswell did something he has never done: adopt kids.
This, however, is not the ordinary individual-adopts-child thing. The longtime head coach of the CSUN men’s basketball team recruited eight high school players to join his basketball family for the 2010-11 season.
Braswell’s recruiting history can be characterized as one focused on acquiring junior college players. The philosophy worked for a long time, culminating in two of the last three Big West Conference regular season titles and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2009.
All the new faces on the team are making Braswell feel optimistic in describing what this means for team chemistry.
“I’ll tell you what: This group really gets along very well and I have to give credit to our seniors, to our returning guys. They have done a fantastic, an absolutely fantastic job in getting these guys bought in and ready,” said Braswell.
Despite the youth and new makeup of the team, Braswell is quick to point out that it’s going to take time to reach success.
“We’re just asking people to be patient,” Braswell said. “I know I have to be patient as coach and know that the best is yet to come in the future, later on this year and the years to come with this young group.”
In the 15 seasons since Braswell took over the Matadors, there has never been such a high number of players who have come straight from high school.
The young class includes Frankie Eteuati, Josh Greene, Stephan Hicks, Thomas Jacobs, Allen Jiles IV, Jordan Mitchell, Aqeel Quinn and Lonnie Watson.
Frankie Eteuati (6’10, 185 pounds, Los Angeles, Cathedral HS) — CSUN’s tallest player is a 20-plus point scorer who can rebound, pass and block. He averaged 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks his senior season. His accomplishments earned him All-League and All-CIF Southern Section honors.
Josh Greene (6’0, 175 pounds, Lakeview Terrace, Community Charter HS) — Here is an all-around player who can shoot, pass and rebound, great characteristics for a player of his size. He averaged 19.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 34 games, leading his team to a 28-6 record and first place in league play.
Stephan Hicks (6’5, 180 pounds, Thousand Oaks, National College Prep) — Hicks was a four-year starter who averaged 18 points and six rebounds per game in his senior season. He also played at Agoura High School, where he averaged 17 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game in his junior year. Hicks can play forward, has the potential to achieve double-doubles and has quick feet when making defensive transitions.
Thomas Jacobs (6’7, 205 pounds, San Diego, Scripps Ranch HS) — Jacobs was a bright spot on a team that failed to win 20 games, averaging 11 points, 8.7 rebounds and two blocks a game his senior year. Jacobs is an athletic forward who is capable of getting inside position and grabbing boards.
Allen Jiles IV (6’4, 190 pounds, Los Angeles, Lynwood HS) — Jiles is a versatile player who can play both the guard and forward positions. He was a four-time all-league selection, averaging 13 points, 2.3 rebounds 1.4 steals a game.
Jordan Mitchell (6’8, 185 pounds, Gardena, Junipero Serra HS) — Mitchell comes to CSUN with championship experience. He was on a Serra team that went 35-2, winning the CIF Division III state championship his senior season. Mitchell averaged eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks a game. He has a lot of room for improvement and is definitely a player to keep an eye on.
Aqeel Quinn (6’4, 190 pounds, Lawndale, Leuzinger HS — Quinn is coming off a season where his team went to the CIF-Southern Section Division IA championship game. Quinn averaged 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and four assists a game, earning All-CIF Southern Section Division-IA honors. Quinn has the ability to create plays, drive down lanes and shoot the outside jumper.
Lonnie Watson (6’4, 190 pounds, Paso Robles, Paso Robles HS) — Watson is a scorer who led his team with 19.1 points a contest, grabbing 4.3 rebounds a game. Other than skills on the court, Watson is a great student who earned the CIF Academic Award in both his junior and senior years and was on the National Honor Roll.