2003-04 Basketball Preview: Power Forwards

This is not your ordinary preview. The publisher of TitanCentral.com and two of the most passionate, insightful posters (Throwback and Rufus) on the TitanCentral.com message boards preview the 2003-04 season.

Power Forwards
Hardy Asprilla
Bron Groomes
Brian Pruitt

Previews: Whit Haydon (Throwback) | Mike Welton (Rufus) | Paul Causey

Whit Haydon, aka Throwback

Rebounding troubles and health issues are at the center of this confusing situation for Fullerton, Bob Burton and staff.

 2003-04 Preview

Monday: Introduction
  Point Guards
Tuesday: Shooting Guards
Wednesday: Small Forwards
  Power Forwards
Thursday: Centers
  Season Outlook
Friday: Predictions

Bron Groomes has demonstrated some ability to rebound and put the ball in the basket, so his immediate return from a hand injury is of the utmost importance. Bron had very nice year last year and was rather effective on the boards for the most part. A healthy Bron keeps this power forward spot from being a glaring trouble for the Titans based on rebounding alone.

Hardy Asprilla brings a warrior's mind set along with an iron will to compete to the position. Again however, rebounding will be something that will be badly needed despite his lack of leaping ability. Asprilla will have to use his courage to win balls that Fullerton will need to get their first winning season in over ten years.

A bonus is his good inside/outside scoring touch that he has. If he pops out to the top of the key and knocks down a couple of threes per game that could be the difference in the ballgame. One thing it appears that needs no worrying is his tenacity. Again, something that has been missing in the program from big men over the last decade. I know it's unfair to place the big rebounding burden on Asprilla but he'll have to be a victim of circumstance and get the job done.

Brian Pruitt will hopefully add minutes and be seen as a pleasant surprise. If he is able to rebound he will be a major help to the team. There is some question as to Pruitt's desire by some fans, but there is no denying he has a body we need and if he rebounds better than certain others, more minutes.

What's In Store: The power forwards are going to have to place rebounding above all else in order to pick up the slack for Pape Sow.

From an offensive standpoint if Bron can get some put backs and Hardy hits some threes it would be great. However, rebounding from these guys is more critical than any other single aspect of what is going on right now.

It's this simple, if they can rebound effectively then Fullerton will have the best team it has had since 1992-93. Hey Bron, Hardy, and Brian............."REBOUND!" It is the key to the season, period. Until this happens on a regular basis, a C- grade is in order until results on the glass and a healthy Bron force a different grade.

Grade: C-

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Mike Welton, aka Rufus

Once Bron Groomes gets back, we will have very good depth at this position. All three can play and offer much the same strengths. All are capable of getting double figures in points and 5 to 8 rebounds per game.

Hardy Asprilla will struggle to get his shot off against taller opponents, but will get his points on brute strength and from the outside; good defender. Bron is probably the best offensive power forward.

Brian Pruitt is deceptively good. He knows the game, is good passer, and is strong around the basket. Not unhappy when any of these three are on the floor.

Grade: C, would be higher, but no stars in this bunch, just good role players.

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Paul Causey, TitanCentral.com

During the first practice it was apparent Bron Groomes had worked hard in the off-season. He had put on some muscle and was one of the few players who came into camp in great shape. A freak accident which cut tendons in his right hand had some very serious implications. The OC Register and Los Angeles Times proclaimed him out for the year but it now looks like a late December or early January return is a good possibility. If true, this would be excellent news for the power forward position.

In the meantime, Hardy Asprilla and Brian Pruitt have taken over this role. Asprilla is a good shooter in an Amir Bar-Netzer's mind and body. No one works harder than Asprilla but, like all JC transfers, it will take time to adjust to the Div. I game. With Groomes returning we had the luxury of easing him into but he will now be forced into the starting role.

It's rare when Asprilla is not in the right position but because of his height and lack of a vertical leap this can still pose a problem. Taller players --like those he faced during our second exhibition -- are able to reach from behind and steal rebounds without too much effort. Granted, with most opponents he will face this year, it should not be a problem.

Pruitt is a big-bodied 6-6 225 pound walk-on. All the tools are there and he has been fairly impressive during practices and exhibitions. If he can give us 12-17 solid, intense minutes, the Titans should be fine. Intense is the key word.

Bottom Line: With Bron out we have no experience at this position. With the loss of Jamal Forcheney this was our weakest position going into this season and that was before we lost our starter. Now we will have to make due. With Hardy's size, Pruitt has the potential to steal quite a few minutes but is he up for the task?

Grade: D

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