It’s not everyday that a guy that averages two points per game makes a game-winner, let alone be named MVP.
‘It’s a blessing to be in this position,’ said Vincent Cordell, a forward who four games ago didn’t record a minute, but that since has gone on a name-rising tear.
Cordell’s 6-foot-6 frame makes him better-suited to be a guard, position he has played at times this season in whatever brief time he got on the court, but the junior likes and has taken on the challenge of guarding bigger, heavier players in the paint. Not only that, but he also has gotten the ‘honor’ of being selected by Head Coach Bobby Braswell to guard the opposing team’s best post player.
How does he do that?
‘My arms are long, I guess,’ Cordell said.
And thanks in big part to Cordell, the face of the Matadors’ last three opponents have also been long. Starting with a game at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 29, Cordell’s name came to the spotlight. The junior had a game-winning layup with 11 seconds to go as CSUN prevailed 72-70 over the Gauchos.
Then came an outing at San Luis Obispo against the rival CSUN faces tonight again, Cal Poly. Cordell scored a season-high eight points and, more importantly, held the Mustangs’ second-best scorer, Titus Shelton, to nine points on 4-of-10 shooting. Braswell called him his ‘MVP’ then.
A few days after, Cordell was at it again. This time against Santwon Latunde of Cal State Bakersfield. Latunde outweighs Cordell by 50 pounds.
‘Cordell’s actually very strong for his size and height,’ said 6-8 CSUN forward Willie Galick, who goes up against Cordell in practice.
Before Santa Barbara and since the Big West Conference season started, Cordell was averaging less than five minutes per game.
‘I didn’t get down. I knew my time would come,’ he said.
Tonight at the Matadome, it’s his time again.
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: The Matadome, Northridge
Series: Cal Poly leads 43-39
Last meeting: CSUN 79 @ Cal Poly 68,’ Jan. 31.
Interesting fact: By then end of the weekend, the Mustangs will have completed their regular-season road schedule. Starting Feb. 18, Cal Poly begins a six-game homestand. Four of those matches are against Big West foes.
Matador to watch:
Vincent Cordell, forward, junior
Cordell has come out of nowhere to become key in Braswell’s success plan. Following a game against UC Irvine in which he didn’t even see playing time, Cordell’s made a game-winner, been called ‘MVP’ and been handed an imaginary game ball for his performance. The undersized forward has called it a ‘blessing,’ but remains humble. Cordell, who has no Valentine Day’s plans other than a game, will once again be guarding the other team’s best post player, Titus Shelton.
Gaucho to watch:
Titus Shelton, forward, senior
Shelton was limited to nine points while being guarded by Cordell during the Matadors’ 79-68 win at Cal Poly. Points-wise, it was the worst outing of his last five games. In those other four matches, Shelton averaged 15.5 points per game. He’s likely to see Cordell on him for most of the night again, so it’s up to the former Big West Defensive Player of the Year to try and get some better offense going.
What did he say?
Bobby Braswell, CSUN Head Coach
On how Vincent Cordell’s managed to go from no-minutes to starter:
‘It’s a matter of being given a chance and taking advantage of those chances when u get them.”