The thrashing was over and it was time for the five seniors to step into the Matadome’s big midcourt ‘N’ to be acknowledged and bid goodbye. Only four of them were able to make the walk. One of them did so somewhat hobbled. Still, their coach’s message resounded loudly enough even for the missing classman to hear it.
‘You’re a special group of seniors,’ said CSUN Head Coach Bobby Braswell to Tremaine Townsend, Rodrigue Mels, Rob Haynes and a recovering Josh Jenkins after the Matadors blew out Long Beach State, 95-74, on Saturday. ‘You deserve this. You guys have fought through adversity. I love you.’
Deon Tresvant was missing from the celebration for the team’s graduating members. The guard, who has been withheld from competition for the past twelve games while resolving legal matters, chose not to attend the post-game ceremony. Regardless of his absence, Braswell was talking to him too.
‘Deon has just as much stock in this season as anybody,’ Braswell said.
Jenkins was in street clothes and, still not completely recovered from the injuries sustained in a Feb. 14 car crash, walked carefully. Townsend hugged him. CSUN had finished the home season with renewed hope that it could survive those senior losses, but Townsend didn’t forget about his point guard, or Tresvant, for a minute.
‘We do this for them (Jenkins and Tresvant),’ said Townsend, who had 17 points against the 49ers. ‘Those are our teammates. We know how bad they want to be on the court so we’ve got to play for them.’
Haynes, the only senior who’s been with CSUN for four years, couldn’t have finished his Matadome career any better.
‘It’s been a long four years,’ he said. ‘To end like this ‘hellip; it’s just incredible.’
And Mels was just happy his team’s alone in first place.
‘Super,’ he summarized it.
Incredible. Super. That’s what CSUN’s done so far with two games left in the season. Having lost two of their top players ‘- seniors ‘- the Matadors have somehow managed to be in great position to win the Big West Conference again.
‘You can be sad and go crawl in a corner or you can step up,’ Townsend said. ‘That’s’ what we did.’