Nov. 20, 2006
Fullerton, CA -
Wed., Nov. 22 - at Texas-San Antonio, Convocation Center, 1 p.m. CST
Fri., Nov. 24 - at Louisiana-Lafayette, Cajundome, 7:05 p.m. CST
Mon., Nov. 27 - at Eastern Washington, Reese Court in Cheney, 7:05 p.m. PST
Sat., Dec. 2 - vs. Texas-San Antonio, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m. PST
IN A NUTSHELL:
Cal State Fullerton opens Parts Two and Three of its discombobulated non-conference schedule for 2006-07 with a 3-game, 8-day road trip to Texas, Louisiana and Washington. In Part One, a "B" team has gone 2-0 against outmanned NAIA schools. Part Two will be that roster's first test against an NCAA squad in Texas-San Antonio, which beat Fullerton last year in Florida. Part Three starts two days later when the "A" team becomes eligible for the game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Senior point guard Bobby Brown, junior guard Frank Robinson, junior forward Scott Cutley and senior reserve center Curtis Battles were suspended for three games each for an NCAA violation involving misuse of book vouchers. They will travel to Texas and practice but not play until Louisiana.
All Titan games can be heard live on the internet on computers with sound cards. Listeners may access the CSF Athletics home page at www.fullertontitans.com and follow the links. Mel Franks will be at the microphone on the 3-game Thanksgiving Weekend road trip.
All Titan home games and road Big West Conference games are available via videostreaming on a subscription basis. Details are available on the Big West website at www.bigwest.org.
Fullerton trails UTSA, 2-1. CSF lost to UTSA last year in Miami, Florida, 88-76. The teams played a home-and-home series in 1983 and 1984 with the home team winning each time. Fullerton will be meeting Louisiana-Lafayette for the first time and carries a 3-0 advantage over Eastern Washington -- 1-0 in Cheney as part of a home-and-home series in 2003 and 2004. The Eagles lost in Titan Gym last Feb. 18 in a Bracket Buster Game, and this year's visit is the return game.
ABOUT THE ROADRUNNERS:
Texas-San Antonio (1-3) has a new coach in Brooks Thompson, who was an assistant at Arizona State the past two seasons. The former Oklahoma State star, who was a first-round draft choice of Orlando in the 1994 draft and played for five NBA teams, previously served as head coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, where he was 55-14. UTSA is coming off a pair of lopsided losses at Washington State and Gonzaga. It opened with a home win over Texas A&M International and then lost at home to Texas-Pan American. It hosts Fullerton in the first half of a home-and-home series that will conclude in Titan Gym on Dec. 2.
ABOUT THE RAGIN' CAJUNS:
Louisiana-Lafayette will take a 1-1 record into a Nov. 21 game at Oral Roberts before hosting the Titans. The Ragin' Cajuns have beaten Ouachita Baptist and lost at Mississippi. The Cajundome and UCLA's Pauley Pavilion are the two biggest arenas in which the Titans will play this season, both holding 12,800 fans.
ABOUT THE EAGLES:
Eastern Washington (1-2) lost its first two games at Gonzaga and at UNLV before beating Lewis-Clark State in its home opener Saturday night, 85-70. The Eagles host Evergreen State on Nov. 21 and visit Washington on Nov. 24 before hosting the Titans in the return game of last year's ESPN Bracket Buster scheduling. EWU features one of the nation's top players in Rodney Stuckey, listed among five "under the radar players" in the College Basketball Preview edition of Sports Illustrated.
ABOUT THE TITANS:
The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They are off to a 2-0 start for the second year in a row but only the third time (also in 1992-93) since 1989-90. When the full roster is eligible to play, the Titans will feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at forward and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown will make an immediate impact along with community college transfers Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley and Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias.
Bob Burton is 50-41 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .549, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). He is 0-1 vs. Texas-San Antonio and 3-0 vs. Eastern Washington.
Fullerton last year won its road opener (at South Dakota State) for the first time since Nov. 22, 1996, when the Titans won at BYU, 75-67. In the Bob Burton Era, the Titans have lost at Northern Arizona and vs. Samford on a neutral floor in Connecticut before winning in a snowstorm in Frost Arena in Brookings last Nov. 28.
BOBBY FOCAL POINT:
Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. The unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District. He needs 462 points this season to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood.
BURNS BECOMES KEY:
Senior Justin Burns made dramatic improvement from his sophomore to junior seasons and is approaching all-conference consideration. With the departure of Jamaal Brown, he will likely see more time in the "5" or post position this season. He averaged in double figures in scoring (10.4 pg) last year after a strong finish. He was fourth in the Big West in rebounding at 6.7 rpg and fifth in blocked shots at 0.93 per game. He had five double-doubles and picked up another one against Cal Maritime with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior Frank Robinson was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. Overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds and was No. 3 in the conference in 3-point field goal accuracy at .445 (49 of 110). He also led the conference in steals at 1.66 per game.
Former redshirts Chris Minardo and Ray Reed have had impressive Titan debuts vs. Cal Maritime and Hope International. Minardo hit four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes on his way to 20 points vs. Cal Maritime and had 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds vs. Hope. Reed had 16 points, 6 assists and 6 steals vs. CMA and then just missed the school's second triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists vs. Hope.
ROAD RECORD IMPROVING:
Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons they are 20-17 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115.
Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired).
ONLY ONE NEW STOP:
Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome is the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. Conversely, three new opponents are visiting Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Cal State Fullerton was a consensus third-place prediction at the annual Big West Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 25. Both the media and coaches polls had Fullerton behind Pacific and Long Beach State.