Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/12/13
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -- Whatever you think you know about Cal State Northridge basketball, new head coach Reggie Theus wants you to forget about it. The commuter campus in the Valley that has never been known as a sports powerhouse is getting a makeover by one of the areas homegrown basketball talents. Theus, the Inglewood native who played 12 seasons in the NBA, is tasked with bringing excitement to a program that is largely ignored in the Los Angeles college basketball scene. Our goal is to be the hardest working team in the conference, said Theus Friday during a news conference at the Matadome. CSUN basketball has kind of been the third wheel, just kind of like, Whatever. That stops today. Theus, who was most recently coaching the Lakers D-League team the D-Fenders, took over for 17-year head coach and CSUN alum Bobby Braswell last week. With the rise of the mid-majors in full effect, thanks to last months NCAA tournament in which Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State and La Salle all made good runs, CSUN athletic director Dr. Brandon Martin wants the Matadors to be a part of it. We want to compete, Martin said. We want to compete with some of the high-major schools that people talk about all of the time. Im not afraid of anybody and we want to compete against some of the top players in Southern California. Theus has had somewhat of a bumpy coaching career, with head stints at New Mexico State and the Sacramento Kings. After a disastrous run in Sacramento, the former UNLV and Inglewood High School Star was an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves. But Theus soon realized that the NBA wasnt where he wanted to be, and his passion for developing athletes made him yearn for the college game. Ive wanted to be in college basketball in the worst way, Theus said. I think that having an opportunity to be back in college is always where my heart is. Mentoring the kids and having an effect on their lives is personal to me. For Martin, a former USC basketball player who has been vocal about wanting the Matador athletic programs to be in the conversation instead of an afterthought, it was a conversation with Rick Pitino, whom Theus worked under during a stint at Louisville, that was influential in the decision. He talked about his hunger to be the best coach in the country, Martin said. That was very special to me because one of my goals is to the best athletic director in the country, so that resonated with me. Martin was also impressed with Theus recruiting abilities. Martin and Theus want to tap into the hotbed that is Southern California and land the top recruits in the area. Theus, however, is aware of what he is working with and the task of competing for players with powerhouse programs in UCLA and USC and even the up-and-coming program in Big West foe Long Beach State. Recruiting is about relationships and I have great relationships, Theus said. Recruiting is about your program and what you bring to your program. We have some challenges with our program. The Matadome, which plays more like an oversized high school gym than a Division I facility, is hardly a recruiting draw. Theus said he is planning to address and change the facilities in due time but until then, his plan is simply to put a competitive and entertaining product on the floor. Theus teams will be defensively tough and look to push the pace. He wants to employ a strong full-court press and a high-tempo transition game. Guard Stephan Hicks made a name for himself as a sharp-shooter in the Big West already this season, but Theus is looking to bring more consistency and more discipline in with new recruits. Its who I am as a coach. The great thing about college basketball is that you end up recruiting guys who can play that style, Theus said. This team has to shoot the ball a little bit better and we have to get a little tougher and need some more size. Its a tall order for Cal State Northridge but with the leadership of Theus and Martin, a much-needed change is on its way. I promise that you will be able to go over to your friend or your neighbors house or wherever you are hanging out and talk about CSUN basketball with your chest pumped up and your head held high," Theus said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

USWNT start Olympic qualification in style by scoring in first 12 seconds

Magic Johnson wants Peyton Manning to join Rams

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

NHLers who should be dealt to contenders before deadline

Robert Kraft compares Tom Brady to Peyton, Eli Manning

WATCH: Markieff Morris appears to flip the bird to heckler

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker