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Stanislaus mens basketball begins new era under Reynolds
Cal State Stanislaus men’s basketball player Myles Green defends teammate Dwight Jones in a recent practice leading to Tuesday’s nonconference game against Cal Maritime. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
There’s no denying that this is a new era for the Cal State Stanislaus men’s basketball program.
Just look at the different factors.
The Warriors welcome a new coach in Larry Reynolds, who has had plenty of success in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and Division II before his most recent stop at Division I’s Long Beach State — which made multi-appearances in the postseason, including a berth in the NCAA Tournament in his final year. The Warriors are also returning from a dismal season that saw only seven total wins, so now they’re looking for a change.
So yes, this is a new beginning.
Another factor is the fact that the Warriors welcome back only less than a handful of players from 2008. The key returner is Matt Ibewiro, the senior big man who was ranked fifth in blocks and third in offensive rebounds in the CCAA. He also averaged 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds, making him arguably the face of this season’s squad.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot of adversity yet,” Reynolds said. “I like the way the team is working. They’re a pretty hard-working team. I think they’re a little tired of hearing my voice every day, all day. And it’ll finally be nice to play a game against somebody.”
Even so, the starting lineup is not set. Ibewiro, senior point guard Chad Johnson and senior forward Jordan Stokes appear to have secured starting roles, while the other spots are open at this time.
The Warriors have plenty of casting calls before the CCAA begins against Cal State Monterey Bay on Dec. 4. Until then, they have five non-conference games — all against NAIA members, including Cal Maritime on Tuesday night — before things get really serious.
“It’ll take time,” Ibewiro said, “but I see positive things coming this way.”
Stanislaus was picked by league coaches to finish 11th out of 12 teams in the CCAA, with Cal State East Bay, a first-year league member, predicted to claim last place. That’s enough motivation for the Warriors, who believe that they can surprise people under Reynolds.
“I have some familiarity with the conference,” the first-year coach said. “I want to bring a brand of basketball that is fundamentally sound, that’s exciting to watch. Hopefully, we’ll be up-tempo. By the same token, I understand that championship basketball is won on the defensive end. We’ll have to be able to stop the opponents in clutch situations and rebound the basketball.
“I hope at some point, we can get to that.”
He’s competed in the league as a player, assistant coach and head coach, totaling up to nearly 25 years of familiarity. He was the conference MVP at former CCAA-member UC Riverside before helping guide the program to 10 NCAA tournaments, including three Elite Eight appearances and a national title game, in his 16 seasons as an assistant.
Reynolds moved on to Cal State San Bernardino and collected an amazing 110-35 record over five seasons, which included four straight appearances in the NCAA West Regional. His run was highlighted by three CCAA championships (1999-2002), two West Region crowns and advancing to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight twice.
His last coaching stop was at Long Beach State, where he won the Big West Conference Coach of the Year, earned a 24-8 record and made the NCAA Tournament in 2006-07. He ended his tenure there in controversy as he and his assistants were fired amid an NCAA investigation.
Over the summer, Reynolds was hired at Stanislaus to replace Keith Larsen, who went 55-107 in his six seasons as the head coach. Reynolds became the Warriors’ 10th head coach in school history.
Again, this season is a new beginning for all involved.
“You have to take every opportunity and do the best you can with it,” Reynolds said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to doing here at Cal State Stanislaus.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.