Cal State Fullerton Titans
Overall Rank: #126
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
2006-07: 20-10, 9-5, 2nd (t)
2006-07 postseason: none
There are all sorts of fun storylines with the 2007-2008 Cal State Fullerton squad. There are four players in the five foot range that deserve a spot in the regular rotation. There is only one underclassman on the roster and all six newcomers are juniors. Balancing classes seems to have taken a backseat to building towards one big year. And maybe that will work, because more importantly than size and class numbers is the fact that the Titans have a good team that will compete for a Big West title.
Being without Bobby Brown is bad news for Fullerton fans and writers who enjoy making obvious Bobby Brown jokes. Brown averaged 20.2 points and 5.1 assists during his senior campaign and a go-to-scorer will need to be found sooner than later. Forward Justin Burns started 29 contests and averaged 10.5 points and 6.7 rebound per contest. Chris Minardo has opted to transfer after earning three starts during the 2006-2007 campaign. The absence of that duo leaves depth a concern up front. Seldom used big men Jarrel Lake and Curtis Battles have wrapped up their collegiate careers.
The big name newcomer is Josh Akognon, a transfer from Washington State. The 5-11 shooting guard led the Cougars with 10.3 points per game during the 2005-2006 season and should put up much bigger numbers in Fullerton’s high paced offense compared to Washington State’s anything but high paced offense. Junior Russell, at a hefty 5-6, should at least be a quality backup point guard during his first year in Fullerton. Marcio Lassiter, who spent some time at San Francisco City College, will add some unnecessary depth to the backcourt. The need is up front and the Titans are taking a gamble on the junior college transfers. As long as the team gets some production out of 6-6 forward Gerard Anderson, 6-9 center Eddie Lima or 7-2 center Adam Thomas, it will be worth the risk. The best five players on the team are 6-5 or under and getting some quality minutes from the juco’s is a necessity.
Who to Watch:
Along with newcomers Akognon and Russell, Marcus Crenshaw and Rey Reed will man the two guard positions. Crenshaw, who averaged 11.4 points and 2.3 assists last year, has the experience and should be the starting point guard this year unless Russell blows everybody away heading into the season. The problem is Crenshaw is 5-10 and Akognon is 5-11. Akognon is too talented not to start and that leaves Reed as the odd man out. Reed started 29 games last year, but it is tough to run a three guard lineup that is 5-10, 5-11 and 5-11. If Coach Bob Burton wanted to run a sub six foot trio of guards that would force Frank Robinson, who is a 6-4 guard, to the power forward position. Robinson, who averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 boards last year, is tough enough to handle the four spot, but it creates way too many problems to consider doing for long stretches of time.
Playing small is not an option mostly because the best player on the team is 6-5 senior Scott Cutley. Cutley averaged 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds last year, but just is not big enough to spend a lot of time at center. That is why the development of newcomers Lima and Thomas is so important. However, there is another option in 6-6, 255 pound senior Andrew Green. Green did not put up big numbers during his first season with the Titans, but at least has some experience in the system and is a big body who can battle under the basket.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Marcus Crenshaw, Junior, Guard, 11.4 points per game
Josh Akognon, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Frank Robinson, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Scott Cutley, Senior, Forward, 15.6 points per game
Andrew Green, Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game