California State Northridge Matadors
Overall Rank: #115
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
2007-08: 20-10, 12-4, 1st
2007-08 postseason: none
Cal State Northridge has not had such high expectations since they joined the Big West. And the folks in the Valley think this could be the year that the Matadors make it back to the NCAA Tournament. With super sub Deon Tresvant back and leading the way, this really could be the year. Tresvant averaged a team high 13.9 points per game last year and never started a single game. The 6-0 senior is a great shooter and hit nearly three long balls per contest.
Oddly, the two players who paved the way for the Matadors success over the last four years are now gone, but that will not curb the enthusiasm in Northridge. Calvin Chitwood averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks during his senior campaign. Jonathan Heard added 11.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals. Not only will their production be missed, but their leadership will be as well. Jayme Miller started all 30 games during his senior season. The 6-8, 240 pounder rarely put up huge numbers, but his presence under the basket will be missed. Rai Colston never really worked his way into the regular rotation during his two years with the team after transferring from a junior college.
The Matadors need some depth up front and they found it with this group of newcomers. Willie Galick, a transfer from Pepperdine, is ready to step into a starting role. The 6-8 power forward started 21 games for the Waves two years ago and averaged 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Galick can block a few shots, but it is his versatility to play inside and out that makes him so dangerous. Jermaine Smith missed last season with a knee injury. The junior college transfer will see his first playing time with the Matadors this year and will at least be a solid shotblocking and rebounding threat. Seven-footer Xavier Crawford will not do much scoring, but having a guy that big will make things interesting. Vincent Cordell and Kenny Daniels will add some depth on the wings. Both junior college transfers, the 6-6 Cordell and the 6-4 Daniels are ready to make an impact this year. Mark Hill will be eligible after the fall semester. The transfer from Tulsa will add even more depth at the point.
Who to Watch:
Tresvant is not the only experienced player returning to the backcourt. Josh Jenkins averaged 10.5 points per game and dished out 6.4 assists. Jenkins does a good job getting to the basket and creating for his teammates, but he could stand to develop a little more consistency on his jump shot. His 3.9 turnovers per game sounds high, but the Matadors will run at every opportunity so the turnovers will happen. Yet, there is room for improvement for his senior season. Paul Wayne is an experienced backup point guard. Rob Haynes and Rodrigue Mels will join Tresvant on the wings. Haynes is a decent scorer and slasher, but if expects to start at the three guard spot, Haynes needs to help out more on the glass. Mels saw limited action last year, but he has the potential to be a decent scoring threat off the bench and take over Tresvant’s old job as the sixth man.
Up front Northridge will depend on Tremaine Townsend. The 6-9 senior has a big wing span and he used that asset to grab 9.8 rebounds and tally 1.2 blocks per contest last year. He is a solid scorer as well and can even step outside and consistently hit the mid-range jumper. Townsend was a double-double threat every game last year and will be so again this year. With Gallick by his side, Coach Bobby Braswell’s team has a solid frontcourt. Consistency of play might keep the Matadors away from being the obvious conference favorites, but this is a group who can beat just about anybody on any given night.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Josh Jenkins, Senior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Deon Tresvant, Senior, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Rob Haynes, Senior, Guard, 6.8 points per game
Willie Galick, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Tremaine Townsend, Senior, Forward, 10.1 points per game