Will they be back?

Alonso Tacanga

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Many felt Monday was a date in which at least one question would be answered about the unpredictable 2008-09 Matadors. With senior guard Deon Tresvant and freshman reserve Dallas Rutherford scheduled to be arraigned at San Fernando Superior Court over the alleged Best Buy New Year’s thefts on this day, many thought Monday was crucial and deciding to learn whether CSUN was going two men short or twelve feet bigger for the rest of the season.

The day came, and not much happened.

Tresvant and Rutherford did not enter a plea Monday, a court clerk said the same day. They have a new arraignment. It’s scheduled for Feb. 26 at the same place.

‘It’s just part of the process,’ CSUN Head Coach Bobby Braswell said Monday night. ‘When you deal with the legal system you don’t get to get things done on your time table.’

Jeffrey Braswell, the coach’s son, was allegedly also involved in the situation. He too is due in court on the same date. His father, the coach, has said repeatedly he will not get into details regarding the case because it’s a personal, family matter, so instead he was asked about his players’ playing status.

And according to his reply, those two Matadors could be back any day. That’s not necessarily a good thing, if you’re a CSUN follower.

‘We (he and the university) will make that decision if and when is time to make that decision,’ he said.

Jeffrey Braswell, Tresvant and Rutherford were charged with commercial burglary and grand theft for allegedly stealing more than $6,600 in merchandise from a Best Buy located in Porter Ranch on New Year’s Day. A fourth person, Phannuel Gbewonyo, 28, was also among the ones charged. Braswell, who – as of the date of the alleged incident – worked for the store, has been accused of logging into a cash register using the password of an employee who had the day off and allowing Tresvant, Rutherford and Gbewonyo to check out items without paying for them. The thefts were discovered when Best Buy officials found a discrepancy at the register.

Bobby Braswell said the ongoing judicial process didn’t allow him to say when or if Tresvant and Rutherford will be back. What exactly is that process? He didn’t say. He made it clear, though, that while it will be a month before his pupils appear before a judge again, that doesn’t mean CSUN can’t get them back in uniform prior to that.’

‘I’ve never said that (court appearance settlings) was the only way they’d get back to playing,’ he said. ‘They’ve not been officially suspended. They’ve (just) been withheld from games.’

But again, it’s all a mystery. No clues have been thrown. The players could be back in the next game, or their season could be over.

‘Anything can happen,’ Braswell said.

Rutherford and Tresvant have been allowed to practice with the team. The freshman was present at the last two home games, a loss to Cal State Fullerton and a win over UC Irvine. Tresvant was at The Matadome for the game against the Titans, but was nowhere in sight on Saturday as CSUN defeated the Anteaters.

A couple of Tresvant’s teammates said they haven’t seen him around or talked to him.

‘I don’t think he wants to talk to anyone right now,’ one of them said.

After Saturday’s game, Braswell said he didn’t know why Tresvant hadn’t shown up. On Monday, he offered a possible reason.

‘This is obviously a very difficult time for him, so I’m giving him and Dallas some leeway here,’ the coach said. ‘It’s not a normal circumstance. There’s days that they’re up and days that they’re down emotionally, and it’s very difficult.’

‘I’m leaving (being around the team) to their best judgment at this particular time. It’s not an issue with me.’

Last season, Tresvant was on the All-Big West Conference Second Team and was voted Best Sixth Man by the league’s coaches while leading CSUN in scoring, averaging 13.9 points in 26.1 minutes per game. In 2008-09, Tresvant averaged 13.3 ppg in 12 games, again being the Matadors’ top scorer.

Rutherford averaged 0.8 points in six appearances.

The Matadors have gone 3-2 without them. Among active players, forward Tremaine Townsend leads them in scoring at 12 ppg. He’s also averaging 8.8 rebounds per game.

CSUN plays at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.