Titan Basketball On The Rise

OPINION: Cal State Fullerton's Isiah Umipig, along with the the Titan Transfer Trio of Kwame Vaughn, Omondi Amoke and D. J. Seeley, were too much for Div.-III Redlands University. What can be gleaned from a blow-out win?

No surprises when a DI team, with full scholarships to hand out, destroys a DIII team with none, but this could be just the beginning of a very special year.

Let's not focus on the brutal beating and instead take a look what went right, what went wrong and where we go from here. Consider this a mini-preview for the upcoming season.

What Went Right

The entire first half. We now know what this team is capable of doing. The Titans can run with the best of them and the Big West games, sans SLO's slow game, should produce some very exciting fan opportunities.

Isiah Umipig. The guy can shoot. I think he has earned the right to be grouped with Kwame Vaughn, Omondi Amoke and D.J. Seeley.

Omondi and Seeley. Just the fact that they suited up and played would have been good enough. The fact that neither showed any signs of the injuries that brought on a two-plus week absence was even more encouraging. And the fact they played as well as advertised was icing on the cake.

Kawme Vaughn. Would be remiss in not mentioning him. He is a player. Better than expected. We knew the Cal transfers were going to be good but Kwame is right there with them. Not the best looking shot in the universe, but he plays defense and makes his teammates better.

Chemistry. Easy to get along in blowout wins but I think this team likes each other.


What Went Wrong

Hard to have a What-Went-Wrong in a game like this -- or any win for that matter -- but if I had to choose...

Zone defense. We just can't play it. Never could and never will. This year we don't need to so the sooner we rid this concept the better off we will be.

Perry Webster. Looked great when he was out there, I think the most improved from last year, but appears to be a little banged up. He played the first 9 minutes and was not seen again, except on the stationary bicycle behind the bench. Let's hope it's precautionary as he adds bench depth, energy and true leadership. I love this kid.

Orlando Brown. Sad to say but this former starter has really digressed in just about all areas of his game. He can't finish, he can't shoot and his defense last night was borderline poor. He actually looks skinnier and appears to be two inches shorter. Would have to say he does not make TitanCentral.com's Top 8 and is even pushing towards not making the Top 10. Jordan Knox and Cameron Glover impressed me more last night.

Sedric Martin. Has he lost significant weight? Absolutely. Has this helped his game? Not quite sure. Putting the ball on the floor has got to stop, but I just don't see it happening. For now, I would give as many minutes to John Underwood as possible. Underwood may not have had a great stat game -- 4 points, 3 rebounds in 17 minutes -- but his presence is always felt, unlike Martin's at the moment.

Andre Hardy. For now, I am going to chalk this up to still not being 100%. Gives tremendous hustle but we will need more of an inside presence from him come Big West Conference time. And that's how long I will give him before handing his minutes over to Orane Chin.


Where Do We Go From Here

The potential is there for a banner season. All the pieces are in the place.

We should not worried about team camaraderie, or worried about the fact they have limited time playing together or worried how fast our new guys will adapt to the "system." We should not even be worried about our opponents and the strength at the top of the Big West. All those are non-factors. Staying healthy and willingness to keep learning and improving are really the only two factors.

Talent is there. Depth is there. Coaching is there.

It's all in the hands of the Titan gods now. Are we chosen for greatness or are we destined to be cursed? It's all about the journey folks. Sit back and enjoy another year of Titan basketball.