It’s going to be hard for some of the Matadors to not get a big head after this one. The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team was selected to finish on top of the Big West Conference in the 2008-09 season by Lindy’s College Basketball Magazine. UC Santa Barbara was picked behind the Matadors, followed by Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton.
‘(Head Coach) Bobby Braswell dipped into the community college recruiting well and it paid off for the Matadors with a 20-victory season and a share of the Big West title (last year),’ said the preseason publication. ‘Josh Jenkins’ knack for pushing the ball quickly and getting it where it needed to be made the Matadors one of the best transition teams in the West.’
The selection doesn’t come as much of a shocker given the fact that the Matadors kept most of its championship-winning core. Despite losing some key members in seniors Jonathan Heard, Calvin Chitwood and Jayme Miller, Northridge will bring back its starting point guard – the afore-mentioned Jenkins, rebounding-machine forward Tremaine Townsend, and guard Deon Tresvant, who last season led the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game despite coming off the bench.
‘Another of those (2007-08) transfers, Tremaine Townsend, was as good a post player as there was in the conference, leading the Big West in rebounds and blocked shots while shooting .525 from the field,’ continued the magazine. ‘(The addition of) four more transfers Braswell recruited could be good enough to give the Matadors another 20-plus wins and their second-ever NCAA Tournament bid.’
Jenkins and Townsend were also preseason All-Big West First Team selections while Tresvant made the second team. The point guard and forward were included in the magazine’s Honor Roll as ‘Best Playmaker’ and ‘Best Rebounder’ respectively.
Jenkins was the Big West’s leader in assists at 6.4 per game last season while also averaging 10.5 points. The emotional guard also had the most steals on the squad and became a team leader in only his first season as a Matador. Townsend led the conference in double-doubles (10).
CSUN added have six new faces to its 2008-09 roster: 7-foot center Xavier Crawford, last year’s Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year Vinnie McGhee, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Kenny Daniels, guards Vincent Cordell and Mark Hill and walk-on freshman Dallas Rutherford.