THE COLLEGES / THERESA MUNOZ : Crawford Broadening His Horizons at New Level
Former Moorpark College point guard Sam Crawford has made the transition from junior college basketball to the Division I level with one of the better teams in the nation, New Mexico State, an NCAA tournament participant the past two years.
Crawford is averaging 10.8 points and 11.2 assists a game for the Aggies, who have won three of their first four games.
“I’m doing pretty good so far,” said Crawford, a junior. “I’m putting up the same kind of numbers that I did at Moorpark. You have to play a lot harder, though.
“It is more intense. Someone is after you every night. In junior college, some people fear you, but there’s really no respect given in Division I.”
Crawford’s best outing (season-high 15 points and 13 assists) was on the road against rival New Mexico before more than 17,000 in “The Pit,” one of the most difficult places for a visiting team to play in college basketball.
“It was loud in there,” Crawford said. “They had it rocking, but we had it going and we came away with the victory.
“The crowds are the biggest kick for me. People cheering or booing, either side, it always excites me.”
Crawford also likes the greater exposure. Two New Mexico State games have been televised and the Aggies often are featured on local news programs in Las Cruces, N.M., and in nearby El Paso, Tex.
“I like seeing myself on the news,” he said. “You gotta enjoy it while it’s here. Have a good time and make it last. That’s why I’m working real hard.”
Road travails: Cal State Northridge’s basketball team is 2-19 on the road since moving up to the Division I level, including 11 consecutive losses--the latest to Cal State Long Beach on Wednesday.
“We are still learning to win on the road,” point guard Andre Chevalier said.
“Even though it is just down the 405 (Freeway), not across the country, you still gotta learn to get over the refs and the crowd.”
Traveling in style: Unlike last season when Northridge rode in vans, which required coaches and trainers to drive, the Matadors rented a bus and driver on their Midwest trip and were able to stretch out, one player to a seat.
The bus was equipped with a videotape machine that allowed Cassidy and assistants Tom McCollum and Jerry Carrillo to view the Northridge-Butler game en route to Carbondale, Ill., and the Northridge-Southern Illinois and Evansville-Oklahoma State games en route to Evansville, Ind.
Team in transition: Northridge football Coach Bob Burt and his staff have more than the usual obstacles to deal with in recruiting this season. That’s because the team is in transition. By 1993, the program must move up to one of two Division I levels.
While that might be appealing to recruits, there is a chance that the Northridge football program will be part of a new, non-scholarship Division I-AAA configuration. Without scholarships--even the partial ones on which the program currently relies--Northridge could lose players to other programs.
Burt must replace three starting linebackers, three of his top four wide receivers, three starting offensive linemen and all three defensive linemen (although sack leader Ron McKinney, a defensive tackle, will return).
“With our limited funds, our first priority is offensive and defensive line,” said Burt, who will go the junior-college route for offensive linemen.
“You can’t play with a freshman offensive lineman,” Burt said.
Burt also will need to bolster the secondary, although he can count on second-team All-Western Football Conference safety Eric Treibatch and transfer Cedric Hackett, who demonstrated on the scout team that he can start.