Basketball programs set sights on memorable seasons

Basketball programs set sights on memorable seasons

With many new faces—and one of the strongest recruiting
classes in recent years—Cal State L.A.’s
men’s and
women’s basketball programs
are gearing up for a competitive and optimistic 2010-11 season.

The men’s program, led by sixth-year head coach
, has its sights set on a run to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the
first time since 2000, while also maintaining a streak of
competitive finishes
in the California Collegiate Athletic Association
. The Golden Eagles qualified
for the CCAA Championship Tournament for the second time in three seasons last
year and had a notable road victory at Cal Poly Pomona, which went on to win the
2010 national championship.

Center Carl Hoffman looks for his shot against Syracuse.

Thompson welcomes back a strong core of players, including
four starters: sophomore center
Carl Hoffman, junior forward
Leland Jones,
junior guard
Chris Robinson and sophomore guard
Trevor Hopkins. Jones, now in
his third season with the program, had the most significant shot of the season,
a game-winning put-back at the buzzer to beat Cal Poly Pomona.

But even with the strength and skill of the Golden Eagles
returning team, what coaches and fans are most excited to see is the class of
new recruits in action.
Bolstering the squad are six newcomers:  Franklin
Session, a guard from Weber State; David Norris, a guard/forward from Sacramento
State; Ryan Wetherell, a guard from USC; Bussey Ellis, a guard from Chaminade;
Ozzie Morrison, a forward/center from Barstow Junior College; and
Aj Kapanoske,
a center from Sacramento State.

“I’m very excited about this incoming class,” Thompson
said. “They are a very talented group. We look for great contributions from all
of them.”

Intense play under the basket during a women's basketball game.

The women’s program, meanwhile, has a much different look
and approach from the top down. Starting at the head coaching position is Janell
, who comes to CSULA after successful stints at Mercer University, UC San
Diego and Oklahoma City. Jones spent three years at Division I Mercer after
achieving great success at UC San Diego, where she was 50-10 over two seasons.
She brings a career record of 260-80.

The women’s program also has nine newcomers on the court:
Gretchen Tiernan, a guard from University of the Pacific;
Erika Ruiz, a guard
from St. Mary’s College;
Lorin Hammer, a guard from Mercer;
Lacy Ramon, a
forward from Mercer;
Amber Coleman, a forward from Mercer; freshman
from Sequoia High School; freshman
Karmen Gunn from Luella High School; freshman

from Saint Anthony High School; and freshman
Angeline Jefferson
from Maranatha
Christian High School.

Jazzi Johnson, the leading scorer on last year’s team and
Shatori Dearman, who was fourth on the squad in scoring and second in
rebounding, are among eight returning players.

“I am excited to be back in the CCAA and I look forward to
the opportunity to build the Cal State L.A. women’s basketball team into a
championship program,” Jones said.

Reserve your seat

  • Tuesday, Nov. 23, 5:30 p.m.

    CSULA women @ CSU Dominguez Hills
  • Saturday, Nov. 27, 5 p.m.

    CSULA men @ CSU Dominguez Hills
  • Friday, Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

    CSU San Bernardino @ CSULA (women)
  • Friday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.

    CSU San Bernardino @ CSULA (men)

For more details, or tickets, visit Athletics' web page.