Season Preview, Part IV: Outlook & Predictions

With the loss of five seniors and the addition of 12 newcomers, predicting the 2004-05 men's basketball season is no easy task. Never fear, as three fans and a publisher give you a wide range of views for the upcoming season.

Summary of Grades

Pt. Guard
Front Court
Whit Haydon


A- D-
Mike Welton B B+ D-
Kirk San Roman B+ B+ C
Paul Causey B+ A- D-


Previews: Whit Haydon | Mike Welton | Paul Causey | Summary of Predictions

Editors note: Kirk San Ramon has taken a "pass" on his leg of the review.

Whit Haydon

Certain things are constants at Cal State Fullerton.

Every year is supposed to be the year Fullerton runs the ball and it never does. One thing is different about this year though - Fullerton HAS the horses to run the ball if they are able to run. While it's easy to think this year will be different, it's likely Fullerton will be playing in a 59-57 game in a gym near you in February.

Every year Fullerton has better team chemistry than the year before which begs the question: what in the hell is always wrong with last year? I suppose the answer is losing, which Fullerton has done for eleven straight years. I don't want to hear about team chemistry - I want to see it in action and I don't mean in November and December. Rather, February and March.

Is this the year Fullerton breaks through and gets that elusive winning season? Heck I don't know. The ability is there but can the team stay on the same page for an entire season? I believe in the character of many of these athletes so I feel if this team can't do it than none of the teams ever can. If this team falls apart at the seams from the standpoint of "interpersonal communications" I will be highly disappointed and take up another hobby such as knitting, furniture making, or learning to play the organ - never to return to Titan Gym.

I look for Fullerton to go 3-4 heading into conference play with wins over Samford, Hope, and at home to Denver. Losses at Denver, Eastern Washington, San Diego State, and to Central Conn. Fullerton also has a home and home with UC Davis which they will likely split.

Conference play will find the Titans finishing 10-8 and playing their best ball late.

Ralphy Holmes magic will kick-in in the postseason at Anaheim Convention Center, where Fullerton will fall in the championship game to UOP.

Predictions: Non-Conference: 4-5; Conference: 10-8, tied 4th; BWT: 2-1; Overall: 16-14.

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Mike Welton

This season is yet another in the long line of "rebuilding", as we get a few more athletic players added. However, we are like a donut in that we have a giant hole in the middle.

Teams will more than likely play us man to man, because they won't have to double anyone in the middle. Our perimeter players will have to work for their shots, as there will be fewer "open" looks. We will live and die by the three point shot. We will struggle in the half court game, and we must force the tempo and try to outscore the opposition.

With scorers such as LB, Ralphie, and King, our offense should not be too far off from what it was last year - we should average close to 70 points per game.

Defense could be a major problem this year. Our man defense is weak, and our size could be a negative in playing a zone; we will get killed in a half court game by most teams in the league.

Coach Burton took over an experienced team last year and won 11 games (a one game improvement over the previous year), this year he has a very inexperienced team - can he improve on last year's record?

"Wait until next year" Mr. Robinson is COMING!

Predictions: Non-Conference: 4-5; Conference: 5-13, 8th or 9th; BWT: 0-0; Overall: 9-18.

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Paul Causey

Make no mistake, last year was a disappointment. The problem after the season ended was that our usual "Wait til next year" mantra didn't seem to hold a lot of zest. We lost a first team All-Big West member and current Toronto Raptors player in Pape Sow and we would return only three players from last year's team.

Losing Pape will hurt big time, no doubt in my mind about that. But is returning only three players from last year really all that bad?

Whether it was the coaches or the player, the bottom line is this group did not get along. It's a new year and no one is likely to be happier than Burton as this team is made up entirely of his type of players.

Senior Hardy Asprilla is the lone holdover from the Daniels' regime and whom Burton says is "probably one of the hardest working players I have ever coached." Ralphy Holmes, though recruited by Daniels, is really a Burton player since it was entirely his choice on whether to take Ralphy back after sitting out a year for disciplinary reasons.

Of Ralphy, Burton says, "Needless to say I can't tell you how excited I'll be when Ralphy becomes eligible in the second semester. Ralphy has done a terrific job for us and he has done everything we've asked both off the court and on the court."

Either way you look at it, Burton is ecstatic to have both of them back.

The Titans boast 12 new players though five of them have played Division I basketball before. Nevertheless and no matter how good the team chemistry, it's going to take time for this team to gel. There will be plenty of games won or lost in the last five minutes and how the team responds is anyone's guess.

How will this team handle adversity? Who is going to step up and lead? Who is going to step up and play defense? Rebound? Will we be better than last year? Too many questions and too many possibilities and too little time and space but I will try to tackle the last question.

We won 11 games last year so let's take a look at each position and see if we improve:

Point Guard: Bobby Brown of 2004-05 vs. Bobby Brown of 2003-04 and Zakee Smith. Big Improvement. LB has made significant progress in the off-season.

Shooting Guard: Jermaine Harper vs. Derrick Andrew. Slight improvement. Jermaine is a tenacious defender who should help us from the outside

Small Forward: Ralphy Holmes/Yaphett King vs. Anthony Bolton/King. Huge improvement. Ralphy is amazing and King should be much better.

Power Forward: Jamaal Brown/Hardy Asprilla vs. Bron Groomes/Asprilla. Big improvement. As long as JB can play defense and rebound as expected. Hardy gives it his all so no worries there.

Center: Walls/Quinet/Brown/Hardy/Burns vs. Pape Sow. Huge drop-off. really no doubt about this.

So it appears, on paper at least, we improve significantly at 4 of the 5 positions. If the team gets along -- both coaches and players -- as well as they did at the scrimmage for the entire year, this should also make a huge difference for the team.

Now for the prediction. Each year, and this year is no difference, I look at the schedule and do both a best-case and worst-case scenario. My predictions, however, have always leaned heavily towards the best-case scenario side. Not this year. I am taking out all emotion and simply splitting the difference.

My best-case scenario had us with an overall record of 19-8 (12-6 in conference) record and my worst-case scenario had us at 7-20 (4-14). Combine the two, and I came up with a final record of 13-14.

Predictions: Non-Conference: 5-4; Conference: 8-10, 6th; BWT: 1-1; Overall: 14-15.

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2004-2005 Basketball Predictions

8th or 9th
Big West Tournament
Totals (all games):