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CSUN Faces Chapman, One That Got Away

February 25, 1988|MIKE HISERMAN | Times Staff Writer

Oh, but for what might have been.

Had Kelly Huston decided to attend Cal State Northridge or if Todd Bowser had signed with Chapman, there is a good chance that neither team would be in the position it is in tonight--in dire need of a victory.

Northridge and Chapman, which play at 7:30 tonight at the CSUN gym, are tied for fourth in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. Four teams make the conference's postseason tournament.

A Huston-Bowser front line would be an imposing one, indeed--good enough, in all likelihood, to have led one school or the other to a playoff berth at this stage.

The pair are first and second in the conference in rebounding and first and ninth in scoring, respectively.

"It's an exciting thought," Coach Pete Cassidy of Northridge said.

It almost came to pass.

Huston, a 6-7 senior who leads the CCAA in scoring (21.8) and rebounding (7.9) was "95% sure" he was going to Northridge three years ago.

Until Chapman came in and swept him away.

As a freshman, Huston played on a Pierce College team that was 7-24. He did not feel like staying for his sophomore season.

Northridge had been recruiting him and Huston said he did not even know where Chapman was. But a recruiting trip solved that problem.

"We went to Newport Beach and ate at a fancy restaurant. It was really nice," Huston said.

He also liked Chapman's small-college atmosphere. So he made a list of the pros and cons of each school.

"It was about even," Huston said. Until he got to the bottom line.

"It came down to the financial situation," Huston said. "Northridge was offering a half scholarship and Chapman was offering a full scholarship.

"Coach Cassidy is a class guy. It wasn't easy to make that call, but it was best for me and it's worked out pretty well," he said.

Still, even Huston dabbles in the possibilities. "It would be nice to play with Todd instead of against him," Huston said. "He's going to dominate this league."

But probably not to the extent Huston has for Chapman. In 25 games, he has led the Panthers in scoring 19 times and in rebounds on 13 occasions.

Bowser, a 6-8, 270-pound sophomore who, ironically, almost went to Chapman, averages 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. His season appears to be over, however. He suffered a strained arch in Saturday's game against San Luis Obispo and is out at least two weeks.

This is the last week of the regular season.

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