Pete Cassidy, Cal State Northridge basketball coach, is making sure that the student part of the student-athlete description gets equal time. In addition to monitoring daily study-hall sessions, Cassidy and his staff check the classrooms on campus.
Northridge basketball players must be in class, in the first three rows of seats, and sitting upright in the front third portion of their chairs.
Those who are either absent, sitting at the back of the room or slouching are required to join Cassidy at dawn for "cock-a-doodle-doo" runs.
"I don't want it to appear that we don't trust them," Cassidy said. "It is just that this is what has to be done for them to be students. It is best for their future."
Quoteworthy: Todd Bowser, CSUN's 6-foot-7, 300-pound center, on his weight-loss program: "It is coming off as we speak, so to speak."
Bowser attributes his loss, 25 pounds and counting, to the Loyola Marymount conditioning program that Cassidy adopted.
"I do watch what I eat anyway," he said. "I guess it is hereditary."
Since his days at Montclair Prep, Bowser has been told that he moves well for his size. He certainly will have to in the Matadors' run-and-gun offense.
"It'll be hard, but I'll just do it," Bowser said. "Isn't that the way the saying goes?"
Rider on a storm: J. R. Rider, called the top returning junior college basketball player in the country by one preseason publication, has spirits soaring at Antelope Valley College.
"He is a phenomenal talent," Coach Newton Chelette said of the 6-foot-5 Rider. "You can't stop him."
Surprisingly, although numerous colleges have included Rider on their mailing lists, only a handful of coaches came by to see him during a recent contact period. Apparently they have been scared off by the sight of a Shark in the recruiting waters.
"It's a pretty much known fact that, if everything is OK in Vegas, he's going there," Chelette said.
Rider, who originally signed with Kansas State, is a transfer from Allen County (Kan.), where he averaged 31 points a game last season.
He played for the North team in the Olympic Festival last summer.
West Valley connection: With only Kirk Scott, Eugene Humphrey and Erik Cooper back from last season's team, the CSUN basketball team is short on familiarity, but Scott is well-acquainted with newcomers Keith Gibbs and Brian Kilian. All three attended West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif.
When Scott was at West Valley, Gibbs attended Westmont High, just around the corner.
Pioneer spirit: Scott has no delusions about how difficult it will be for the Matadors to be competitive this season.
"First-year Division I programs have it tough," Scott said. "We got a bunch of pioneers here. We know it is going to be tough and we take it as a challenge.
"With the style of play we have it is going to be hard for other teams to keep up. This is the best shape I've ever been in."
Saved by the bell: Former Cleveland High standout Andre Chevalier has avoided freshman initiation so far, but he has found college basketball at CSUN to be much more physical than the high school game.
"They don't call those ticky-tack fouls," Chevalier said. "I have to get used to being held when I'm dribbling."
Despite his freshman status, Chevalier isn't afraid to speak his mind.
"The team has a positive attitude even though the media is saying we're not going to win many games," he said.
Stat watch: Football--Northridge quarterback Sherdrick Bonner has attempted 137 passes and completed 63 with only one touchdown and one interception. . . . Northridge leads the Western Football Conference in turnover ratio: The Matadors have committed only 14 turnovers while forcing 25. . . . Tailback Albert Fann needs 88 yards to become Northridge's first 4,000-yard rusher. . . .
Tailback Bobby Webster of Glendale has played a major part in the Vaqueros' four-game winning streak. The freshman from Pasadena High has rushed for at least 143 yards and scored two or more touchdowns in every game during that stretch, including a 210-yard, three-touchdown performance against Ventura last week. . . .
Antelope Valley held San Bernardino Valley to 90 yards in offense in the last three quarters of Saturday's 21-14 win after giving up 153 yards in the first quarter. . . .
Tailback Steve Miller of Antelope Valley is only 114 yards short of making the Marauders' all-time top 10 career rushing list. Miller, who leads Foothill Conference backs with 606 yards this season, has gained 1,053 during his career.
Soccer--Forward Danny Daniels of Northridge ranks 11th in scoring in the 21-team Division I Far West region. Daniels, a sophomore from the island of Cyprus, has eight goals and five assists. . . . Bobby Reyes of Northridge is tied for second in assists with nine and goalkeeper Joel Entreken ranks 13th with a 1.30 goals-against average.