Is this the year Derick Andrew breaks out once and for all?
With Andrew you have a player who has continued to improve year by year during his stay, however, a 25 point performance versus Northridge last year left Titan fans wondering if there is something that DA is hiding from us, such as All-Big West abilities.
Fullerton will need DA to have some consistency from his improving perimeter shot and continue to play the good defense that has been his trademark here. If all goes as hoped, I expect to see DA back next year for an extra year and donning the cover of the media guide.
What's the weather like in Warsaw? Hopefully not as cold as his shooting performance in the BBQ scrimmage. Thankfully it looks like warmer weather might be in store as his J is starting to fall for the Titans in the latest scrimmage.
David Warsaw will be a key element to the success of the Titans this season. Former coach Donny Daniels raved about his defensive abilities last season when he apparently tormented Titan guards in practice.
What's In Store: DA has the ability to thrive in the Big West and his emergence as a force in this conference is needed in a big way. I look for DA to believe in himself to the point where making key plays on the road becomes commonplace for him, and sinking free throws in the waning moments of a win he helped to produce becomes a matter of habit.
DA's sometimes timid play on the road and sometimes apparent lack of total belief in himself is the only thing that would hold him back. Otherwise Titan fans have to be plenty pleased with what DA has brought to the program, with greater things looming.
David Warsaw is an unproven commodity at the D1 level, but with a solid JC background and a redshirt year under his belt, he could be the equivalent of Fedi Holm-Hadullah and get hot as the year goes along.
One thing is certain though, one or both of these guys will need to knock down the three to keep Fullerton in tough road games.
In summary, I give the SG spot a C grade at the start of the season but would put an asterisk next to it, as a vast improvement is not only needed but likely.
A weak spot on the team, as all our two's are short and very streaky shooters. Derick Andrew is a good defensive player, but doesn't see the floor too well -- has a knack for dribbling into trouble and has trouble finishing when penetrating the middle. Don't put the ball in his hands in a crucial situation.
David Warsaw is a very strong player but a very streaky shooter. Likes to go to the rack -- hopefully will be able to finish against bigger players.
Both are good free throw shooters.
Jason Pettaway (redshirt) has shown nothing in practice.
Best of the rest of the BW: Boylan (CSUN)
Grade: C-, would be higher if they could consistently knock down the three point shot.
This is the position which could be the toughest for Titan fans to swallow and is also the hardest to predict. What would have been an easy grade of 'A' with first team All Big West Conference Ralphy Holmes, now could be anywhere from a 'B' to 'D'.
The loss of Holmes will hurt but the good news is this should be a battle. Third year senior Derick Andrew currently has the inside track on first year sophomore David Warsaw.
Andrew, or called "DA" by his teammates and fans, was one of our top defensive players his last two seasons and this should not change. And if he improves his point production and shooting over last year as he did from his sophomore to junior years -- 7 ppg to 9.6 ppg, 37% to 49% on FG's -- he will remain our starter.
DA may not be a great 3-point shooter but he can be a scoring threat when he gets the ball off a screen pass for one of his patented balanced, straight-up jumpers. Last year he had a career high in points with 25 against Cal State Northridge and we will need more production like this if we are to win games this year.
Warsaw, with three years of eligibility remaining, came in last year during the second semester and was able to practice with the team so he is not your ordinary JC transfer. Originally thought to be our answer for a backup point guard, it became apparent early during practice that he more suited for the wing.
As with Brown, Warsaw played high school ball at Westchester under coach Ed Azzam and also like Brown, was overlooked by just about everyone. 10 players on his high school team later went on to play Div. I ball.
Watching Warsaw during the exhibitions you would have to say he has struggled for the most part, both defensively and offensively. His stats, however, are not too bad. He has scored 27 points on 11 of 25 shooting in two games. If he can loosen up and relax more on his shot, he will be fine. He is also a great penetrator so, if his shots start falling from the outside, this will only help his ability for taking it to the cup.
Jason Pettaway, a freshman walk-on from Deer Valley, currently has plans to redshirt. Watching him in practice, while still a little raw, Pettaway does what the coaches ask without complaining or whining. He also gives great effort which should help motivate some of the other players.
Bottom Line: There are many factors Holmes brought to the table which will be difficult to replace: Leadership on the floor; Go to guy down the stretch; Crowd pleaser with his hustle and enthusiasm; His obvious scoring ability ... but his 6.2 rebounds per game may be the one which hurts the most.
Losing 16% of all total rebounds can not be replaced, especially at a guard spot, but the DA-Warsaw combo should be able to provide a nice scoring and defensive punch. The position is lacking a real three-point scoring threat and this could pose a problem not only at this position but along the front lines as defenses will collapse on Pape Sow and Babacar Camara.
The good news is defenses should not have that opportunity because the offense is rarely set. They are always on the move inside and out. in. With last year's Slo-O, on the other hand, this would prove devastating. With Ralphy we are an A+, without him we could be anywhere from good to poor.