The Cal State Northridge basketball program is mourning the loss of one of its players and emotional leaders.
The school announced Sunday the passing of Nick Herrmann, a freshman guard on the team who died following a prolonged battle with bone cancer.
Originally from San Diego, Herrmann starred at Torrey Pines High School, leading the team to a CIF San Diego City Championship in 2021.
His on-court accomplishments came while he fought his own health battles off of the hardwood. In 2018, Herrmann was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his leg, CSUN officials said. He was told at the time that he could possibly lose a leg and might never play competitive sports again.
He took a year off to get better, came back strong as a pivotal role player for his high school team and then, as a senior, became their uncontested leader both on the court and off it.
In his senior season, the Torrey Pines Falcons finished with a 30-1 record, with Herrmann averaging 19 points and five rebounds per game, according to CSUN. He capped off the incredible season with a game-winning 3-point basket in the championship game as time expired.
His on-court performance earned him the attention of CSUN men’s basketball head coach Trent Johnson, who made Herrmann his first recruit, bringing him onto the team with hopes of him developing into a key player for the Matadors.
But just weeks into summer training, his cancer returned.
Despite undergoing cancer treatment, he remained with the team as a spiritual and emotional leader and unofficial team mascot.
“Herrmann was a fixture at Matadors’ practice and at games, often leading the cheering section on the team bench and helping the team in anyway he could,” CSUN officials said.
Throughout his cancer battle, Herrmann remained steadfast in his desire to resume his playing career. But sadly, on Saturday, Nick Herrmann died and his yearslong fight came to an end.
Despite never having the opportunity to suit up for the Matadors, Herrmann is being remembered by the team and the school for his unwavering support, his fighting spirit and his magnetic personality.
“In athletics, when there is a great player, we as coaches speak about them being different or having the ‘it’ factor, Nick possessed those qualities,” Johnson said. “When it comes to being genuine, authentic and loyal, he was all of that. For some of us, to have the opportunity and the privilege of being around him, the impact he had was instrumental. At this time, I think we all need to send our thoughts and prayers to his mother Nicole and Nick’s family.”