The 2004-05 team will be remembered for a long, long time. They will be remembered as the true pioneers of Titan basketball. The ones who, despite the odds and circumstances against them, persevered to give Cal State Fullerton 21 wins -- just an amazing accomplishment -- and their first winning season in 12 years.
What the '04-'05 team lacked -- height and depth -- appears to be a strength for the 2005-06 team. What the '04-'05 team had -- talent and heart -- the '05-'06 team hopes to sustain.
The '05-'06 Titans do return the team's leading assist man and number two scorer in point guard Bobby Brown, sharpe-shooter and best defensive player in wing Jermaine Harper and one of the top post players in the Big West in Jamaal Brown (12.4 ppg, 7.6 rbg). In addition, the Titans have key contributors Justin Burns and John Clemmons coming back. Burns really improved and played well towards the end and walk-on Clemmons is one of the better backup point guards in the Big West. Big bodied Derek Quinet and walk-on Danny Lambert also return.
In recent past, this would be more than enough to keep the Titan faithful happy as they wait seven long months before they get another taste of their favorite past-time.
Thinks are much different, however, since head coach Bob Burton gained control of the program.
In his first full recruiting year, Burton has snagged an unprecedented six players with five of them 6-7 or taller.
The three leading candidates appear to be junior Gary Nunez, a 6-8 post player from Ventura College and the Western State Conference's Most Valuable Player, sophomore Chris Minardo, an athletic and very skilled wing/post from Citrus College, and Jerard Moret, the heart and soul for state champion Westchester High.
With all this depth and talent the Titans are expected to redshirt at least two from this class. Shot-blocking specialist Manny Montano (6-10, Palomar College) and Brian Marks, a 6-9 big bodied post from Palo Verde High in Las Vegas are the leading candidates. Jerrel Lake, another Westchester senior, is a 6-7 athletic forward who can jump out of the gym. Once Lake gains some upper body strength he should be an outstanding player for the Titans.
Again, in recent past, this would have the Titan faithful salivating and and howling at the moon for seven nearly insufferable months, but that's not all, not by a long shot.
Frank Robinson, arguably the Titans best recruit since Leon Wood, will become eligible after sitting out a year as a transfer from East Carolina. The 6-4 sophomore wing player has the skills, the mad hops and the shooting ability to make up for an ample portion of the loss of our departing Titan trio. Make no mistake, Robinson is a star just waiting to shine. Titan fans are naturally skeptical but there is no doubt about his capabilities, or his confidence.
After the Titans classic defeat of CSUN on the road Robinison was asked if he was going to be able to accomplish this feat next year. Without hesitation he answered, "Oh yeah, but it won't be this close."
In the ProCity League (AKA Say No) last year Robinson dominated and only got better as the competition increased. He is a gamer where the sky is the limit for this young man.
And if this addition weren't enough to whet your appetite, you can add three more redshirts to the mix. All three are expected to walk-on but all three will help with our talent, our depth and hopefully the other intangibles like attitude, heart and desire.
Adam Tancredi is a 6-9 250 pound post player who would have started at center for us this year, had he been eligible. Damien Massey, a redshirt freshman out of Long Beach's Jordan High School, will provide us with a legitimate third point guard. And Curtis Battles a real wild card for next season.
Battles, a junior from West Hills College, reportedly came into school back in September at 380 pounds and has since trimmed down to a svelte 316. Another 25-30 pounds and he could be vying for serious playing time next season. Battles has very good post moves and excellent hands but he needs to be able to run up and down the floor. The long summer break will be key to his commitment to Division I basketball.
Assuming everyone returns, that makes 18 players with one scholarship still remaining.
We are a long way's away from 2005-06 but at least you now have the tools to intelligently discuss the future of Titan basketball at the 2004-05 basketball banquet.
TitanCentral.com breaks down the players and takes a stab at a very early depth chart.