Cal State Fullerton Titans
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
Cal State Fullerton Team Page
Former coach Bob Burton stepped down late in the process, although stepping down may not be the proper term. But whatever the reasoning behind the departure of Coach Burton, Cal State Fullerton’s basketball program is moving ahead with former assistant Andy Newman leading the way. This is a team that does lose some talent, but they have a ton of experienced players coming in and that is going to be huge for this squad. The relatively abrupt coaching change may linger in the media for a while, but the team will be ready to move on and take care of business.
2011-12 Record: 21-10, 12-4
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Andy Newman
Coach Record: First season at Cal State Fullerton, 0-0 overall
The Titans spent most of last season running a seven man rotation. Five of those players are gone, including Isiah Umipig who is transferring to Seattle. Umipig started 30 games during his sophomore season, averaging 13.5 points and 2.3 assists. His outside shooting will be missed and losing sixth man Perry Webster will not help the group on the perimeter, but the bigger concern is in the frontcourt. Omondi Amoke and Orane Chin formed a great pair in the starting frontcourt. Amoke stayed in the paint and averaged 10.8 points and a team high 9.1 rebounds. Chin was the more versatile power forward who could step outside and knock down the long ball with consistency. Sedric Martin and Andre Hardy, who played in just 16 games, were also regular frontcourt contributors.
Whether or not this team can compete in the Big West will depend on this large group of newcomers. There will certainly be options for Coach Newman. The obvious need is in the frontcourt. Givon Crump may not be able to replace the shooting of Chin or the rebounding of Amoke, but he can do a little bit of both and that should earn him a starting job from day one. Crump spent some time at Baylor and Fresno State before ending up at Pasadena Community College. Fullerton should be his final stop and he could find a very happy home. Marquis Horne and James Johnson are also junior college transfers who will add much, much needed size to the Titans roster. However, the most anticipated transfer is that of Darius Nelson. The 6-6, 235 pound forward will be eligible following the fall semester after transferring from UTEP. He is not a big guy who will stay in the paint, but that should work out fine on this team. Nelson is a hard working forward who can get up and down the floor. More importantly, he is a scorer and when Nelson is scoring on the inside, the shooters will have plenty of space to get open looks. Some of those shooters are among the long list of newcomers. Sammy Yeager will be one of those shooters. The transfer from TCU is a 6-4 wing who can score in a variety of ways and he is yet another newcomer who will likely crack the starting lineup. Alex Harris also has Division I experience, spending one season at Northeastern. Add junior college transfer Chris Carvin to the mix and the backcourt has plenty of weapons and a whole lot more experience than the usual list of newcomers. The lone incoming freshman is Jared Brandon and he is not a bad shooter himself and will look to find a role off of the bench for now.
Who to Watch:
The group of newcomers could make a pretty good team on their own, but the Titans do return their top two scorers from a year ago. D.J. Seeley is the player who will take all of the big shots for Fullerton. During the 2011-2012 campaign the 6-4 shooting guard averaged 17.3 points per game and knocked down 43.4 percent of his attempt from beyond the arc. He was even second on the team with 5.5 rebounds and added a team high 1.5 steals. Seeley may be the heart and soul of the team, but Kwame Vaughn is the leader. The senior point guard tallied 15.6 points and 3.7 assists during his junior campaign. At 6-3, he has nice size for a point guard in the Big West and his ability to hit the long ball really opens up the offense. With a couple senior leaders like that in the backcourt, it will help get all the new faces involved.
However, team chemistry will still be an issue for a while. The only other key returning player is John Underwood and he averaged just 6.9 minutes per game last season. Coach Newman has some work to do in order to get his lineup and rotation figured out. And by the time that happens Nelson will be eligible to play and the rotation will again have to be altered. But none of that takes away from the fact that this is a very talented group. And by March they will be a talented team that will compete for a Big West title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Kwame Vaughn, Senior, Guard, 15.6 points per game
D.J. Seeley, Senior, Guard, 17.3 points per game
Sammy Yeager, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Givon Crump, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
James Johnson, Junior, Forward, DNP last season