Cal State Northridge is back in the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight years and coach Bobby Braswell is determined to shift his attention from the courtroom to the basketball court.
Braswell's son Jeffrey, 22, and his leading scorer Deon Tresvant
are facing burglary charges, but the coach - at least for a few
days - is trying to focus on devising a strategy to beat the No. 2
seed Memphis Tigers (31-3).
"It's hard, obviously, to switch your emotions from one place
to another," Braswell told KABC-TV on Monday. "Not only do I have
a son there, I also have one of my players there too so it's just
something that I have had to learn to deal with."
Braswell's son was arrested six weeks ago along with his friend
Phannuel Gbewonyo, leading scorer Deon Tresvant, and reserve Dallas
Rutherford on charges of felony burglary and theft from an
electronics store where the coach's son worked.
Tresvant and Jeffrey Braswell have pleaded not guilty. Neither
Tresvant nor Rutherford has played again this season, although
Rutherford pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and could have
Braswell said he doesn't want his players' concentration to wane
as they prepare for the program's first NCAA tournament since 2001.
The Matadors (17-13) face the Tigers on Thursday and will try to
join Santa Clara, Coppin State and Hampton as No. 15 seeds that
produced shocking first-round upsets.
"I've got to make sure I walk in the gym and make sure these
guys know that we are focused and ready to get down to basketball
business," Braswell said.
When asked if these were difficult times, Braswell said he is
keeping the situation in perspective.
"There's people going through a whole lot worse things than we
are going through right now," he said. "We are keeping it all in
perspective and feel things are going to work out."
The four men allegedly stole more than $6,600 in merchandise
from a Best Buy store on New Year's Day, according to the Los
Angeles district attorney's office.