Aug. 26, 2008
Vancouver, BC - Continuing to re-write Cal State Fullerton men's basketball history, sixth-year Head Coach Bob Burton will take the Titans to British Columbia this weekend for the first international tour in the program's Div. I history.
The Titans will play exhibition games at Trinity Western University in Langley on Friday night, at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby on Saturday night and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Sunday evening before returning to Fullerton. It's a whirlwind trip with the Trinity Western game scheduled for 9:15 p.m. and the Titans don't land at Vancouver International Airport until about 7:30 p.m. that evening. The other two games tip off at 7 p.m.
Fullerton began specially allotted practices on Saturday (Aug. 23) to prepare for the trip. The additional sessions are viewed as highly beneficial for a team that must replace seven graduated players.
Only nine players will see action on this trip. Returning starter Josh Akognon and reserve Marcio Lassiter will be joined by former redshirts Gerard Anderson and Adam Thomas and newcomers Papa Guisse, Jacques Streeter, Aaron Thompson, Ray Miller and late addition Ameer Shamsud-din, a highly regarded freshman guard from Oregon who enrolled on Monday. Chris Rhymes will make the trip but will not play as he continues to rehabilitate a knee injured in last season's community college playoffs.
Shamsud-din, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 20 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4 assists last season at Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland. As a junior he averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2.7 assists while making the Portland Tribune's all-city team.
Fullerton is coming off its first conference (co-)championship since 1976, its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1978 and a school's best 24-9 record. But the Titans return only two veterans in leading scorer (20.2 ppg) Akognon and Lassiter (3.3 ppg).
Trinity Western is located about 30 miles southeast of downtown Vancouver. The campus has about 2,500 students. The Spartans play in Enarson Gym and are coming off a 4-19 season for Coach Scott Allen. They play Tulsa and Colorado State later in the weekend.
Simon Fraser and Fullerton have played before. The Clan handed the Titans a regular season-opening 80-77 loss on Nov. 19, 1999. It was Fullerton's only previous basketball competition outside the United States. The Titans won the rematch, an exhibition on Nov. 8, 2000, 60-43, in Titan Gym. Burnaby is located about 20 miles east of downtown Vancouver and has about 19,000 students. Coach Scott Clark is in his 14th season and is coming off a 13-22 season. They also play Colorado State on Sunday night.
The University of British Columbia is located west of downtown Vancouver and boasts 35,000 students. The Thunderbirds are coached by Kevin Hanson and already have a victory over a U.S. team, having defeated Div. II San Francisco State, 77-62, on Saturday night. They return every player from last season's 27-9 squad and they host Tulsa this Saturday.
Fullerton's regular season begins Nov. 6 against Carroll College of Montana.