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He Tries to Make the Point With 60

Jason Crowe’s stock on the Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team just rose dramatically.

Crowe, a 6-foot-4 junior point guard who had to sit out last season after transferring from American University, scored 60 points in a summer league game against a Chinese professional team Sunday in Carson.

“I was just pretty hot,” Crowe said. “I hit mostly jumpers.”

Crowe said his previous high was 51 points as a junior at Inglewood High.

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“I didn’t even know about it,” Northridge Coach Bobby Braswell said of Crowe’s 60-point game. “I’ve been on the road recruiting.”

Crowe, Markus Carr from Palmdale High and former Inglewood blue-chip recruit Bradley Jackson were set to battle for the Matadors’ starting point guard.

But last semester, Jackson failed a class he needed to graduate in what Braswell believes was an intentional effort to void his national letter of intent to Northridge. Jackson is out of the picture, leaving Carr and Crowe in the mix.

Crowe’s scoring outburst didn’t surprise Braswell.

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“We knew he is capable of scoring,” Braswell said. “He’s a talented shooter.”

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Former Chatsworth High and Northridge volleyball player Gene Urcan has made quite a switch in arenas.

Urcan, who in the fall plans to attend Harvard to study law, is working on a research paper for Roger Porter, a business and government professor at the university. Porter was an economic advisor to Presidents Reagan and Bush.

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Last year, Urcan became the first Northridge student accepted as a White House intern.

“It was an awakening call for me,” Urcan said. “My whole life has been playing sports and sports and sports, and now I have another interest.”

Urcan graduated in 1991 from Chatsworth, where he was a middle blocker and was selected as one of the top 50 players in the nation by a volleyball publication. He played opposite hitter at Northridge in 1992-94.

His research paper is not exactly a vote of confidence for President Clinton.

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“It’s a study of the influence of different organizations on the decisions made by the president,” Urcan said.

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Ron Ponciano, Northridge’s first-year football coach, knows the Big Sky Conference is pass-happy.

So he’s planning to run a whole lot.

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“You pass to score and you run to win,” Ponciano said.

The Matadors are deep at running back with the addition of transfers Melvin Blue, Jaumal Bradley and Josh Hawkins.

Blue, a 6-1, 230-pound senior, last year rushed for 741 yards and nine touchdowns at Utah State, where he backed up Demario Brown. Northridge coaches consider Blue a pro prospect.

“He’s the guy who’s going to move the chains,” Ponciano said. “In spring ball, he knocked us around. . . . Good running backs make an average team good and a good team great.”

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Bradley, 5-10 and 220 pounds, rushed for 1,287 yards in two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College.

Hawkins, 6-1 and 205 pounds, was The Times’ Ventura County back of the year in 1994 after rushing for 2,454 yards and scoring 36 touchdowns at Nordhoff High.

He played wide receiver at Hawaii the last two seasons.

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The Matadors might be without key seniors Pete Silvey and Brett Nordyke in the fall.

Silvey, a starting defensive tackle, and Nordyke, a defensive end from Crespi High and Valley College, are struggling to remain academically eligible.

“They are my biggest concern,” Ponciano said. “They are working hard in summer school. It’ll be an extremely sad day for me if Pete is ineligible, not just because he’s a good football player but because of who he is as a person.”

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After winning a sweat shirt from another school in a raffle at the Big Sky convention Monday, one coach quietly told his wife: “Something to mow the lawn with.”


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