I said publicly after Bobby Brown's first two weeks as a Titan he was the best PG on the west coast and drew hearty laughs, even though I was as serious as a heart attack. Fast forward two years and he is rated in the top ten point guards nationally, while one online internet publication most recently has him projected just barely outside of the first round in the 2007 NBA draft.
Leave little doubt I'm giving the Point Guard position an A+ per the criteria of rating him as it pertains to the Big West conference. However, ranking him amongst Big West level players is just not fun anymore. Those following his summer exploits have seen him blow up every point guard imaginable, including a massacre of the UCLA phenom Jordan Farmar in the summer of 2004.
The summer of 2005 has seen LB transform his jumper into a great looking jump shot that you would see in the NBA. Also, a penchant to pass the ball has emerged, which is only good if others are better scorers. I have no doubt that LB will ultimately be called upon to score again this year, much like his freshman year, as necessity will dictate that he do so.
So, when you talk about LB the idea of a true All-American begins to come into clear focus as he heads into the second half of his collegiate career. This is the vantage point we will choose to deliver from as we finish this.
Four things need to happen for All-America status to be realized - all difficult. Number one, LB has endured midseason slumps in each of his first two years as a Titan. These two slumps saw LB play reckless basketball, all the while losing confidence in his stroke. In both instances he more than atoned for his play in those stretches with terrific finishes and great starts to the season. This can no longer happen as Fullerton cannot afford it.
Number two, LB is to become a leader of this ball club. Whether this will occur is a guess at this point.
Thirdly, LB must lead the Titans to the dance in one of the next two years.
Finally, he must demonstrate a better defensive game.
If all four happen he will be an All-American before he leaves. If he does not, he will still leave as one of the best things that's ever happened to Cal State Fullerton basketball ever. Make no mistake, these are mighty high standards. All-American standards that he has put himself in the position to even have this discussion in the first place.
John Clemmons, if healthy, is the best back-up point guard I have ever seen at Fullerton. Highly athletic and a tenacious defender, Clemmons is an instant fire cracker when put into the ball game. I like Clemmons game quite a lot. I would not be surprised to see him and LB in the ball game together at many junctures of the season.
I have not seen much of Damien Massey, but have heard good things about his contributions to the program thus far.
Big West Grade: A+
Special One-Time Only National Elite Level Grade: B+
It seemed a little weird being asked to pen a preview of the Cal State Fullerton basketball team seeing that I have not seen the team practice or play. But if having an actual working knowledge of local teams were a requirement for being a writer, Steve Bisheff would have been unemployed a long time ago.
Besides, how hard could this be? One of the prognosticators in this space last year actually watched the team and came to the conclusion that the Titans would only win a handful of games and Bobby Brown is not a point guard.
I made it a point to ask Ralphy Holmes (remember him) this summer if he thought that Bobby Brown was a legitimate Division I point guard. Ralphy assured me that he is and well, that is good enough for me. The only question that remains for Brown is how much the preseason hype is going to affect his game. Brown has been selected a preseason all-league first team by nearly every publication and received praise from columnists such as Doug Gottlieb who said that he would wager all of his stolen credit cards that Brown would have a good season.
The publicity is good for the program and it is great that he is getting credit from the national media. But that does not exactly put points on the scoreboard. This has the potential to turn out like Major League II where Rick Vaughn and Willie Mays Hayes turn into prima donnas after one year of success. This is where the coaching staff, led by Bob Burton and Marlon Morton are going to be important for the success. Hopefully Brown remembers that every Division I basketball team did not offer him a scholarship and he uses that to fuel his fire.
I would venture that Brown, who comes from a strong family, will continue to improve and pack Titan Gym. Brown would be the player of the year in the Big West were it not for Pacific’s Christian Maraker.
Backing up Brown will be John Clemmons who looked good in stretches last season. But Clemmons has had troubles staying healthy. It would be fair to say that the Titans cannot rely on Clemmons to give many quality minutes after injuries to both feet and the fact that Brown will likely be on the court for nearly 40 minutes a game. Red-shirt freshman Damien Massey backs up the duo. His profile on the school’s website says: Damien will have to fight for playing time. That pretty much sums it up.
Position grade: A. Brown is the best point guard in the Big West and it is not even close. Clemmons could be a valuable backup if healthy.
This is definitely the strength of the Titans this year, and the main reason that the Titans are picked to win the league – despite losing the league’s leading scorer and rebounder in Ralphy Holmes.
Bobby Brown: LB, the Titans return the league’s best point guard; he is the leading returning scorer in the BW and among the league leaders in assists. LB was impressive in the summer league and blue/white scrimmage, he looked like he has improved his jump shot and is looking to hit the open man. This should be HIS team, and much of the team’s success will depend on how he handles that responsibility, and the increased defensive pressure he will get each game. Teams will try to stop LB; look for lots of gimmick defenses.
John Clemmons: JC could probably start on the other seven teams in the BW. A true point guard, with good quickness – John will get minutes because of his defense and the way he runs the team. If our shooting guards falter in the least, look for LB to get some extra minutes at that position and for JC to handle the point.
Damian Massey: Little is known of walk on red shirt freshman Massey, and his minutes will depend on any injuries sustained by LB or JC. With Ray Reed, and Marcus Crenshaw signing with the Titan’s will Massey continue to be in the program?
Most of the teams that will challenge the Titans for the league title are noticeably weaker at this position. UCI and LB State seem to have the next tier at this position, Pacific will struggle unless they develop an adequate replacement for Doubley, ditto for CSUN without White and Frazier.
The accolades for Cal State Fullerton's junior point guard Bobby Brown keep piling up and most believe he is the best point guard on the west coast. Some think Brown has NBA first-round potential after this year and the experts say if he declares himself he will be drafted somewhere at least.
No one can predict what the NBA has in store, but Bobby Brown will certainly be the best at his position in the Big West. A no-brainer for sure. The improvement LB has shown since last year is just as great as it was going from his frosh-to-soph jump. This says a lot because Brown was the best freshman ever at Cal State Fullerton but that's how you go from a walk-on point guard at Long Beach State to gaining NBA interest two years later as a Titan.
Brown's strengths are his quickness and his ability to hit the long-range three-pointer, clutch or otherwise. From practices and a couple scrimmages, it appears Brown is trying to become more of the traditional pass-first type of player but this may not be a good thing. LB is the ultimate playmaker who plays on instincts and should continue to do so. Psst, LB, shoot the ball as often a you like.
Brown needs to improve on the defensive end and also pick up some of the team leadership lost with the departure of last year's seniors Yaphett King and Ralphy Holmes.
If he doesn't pass up the open looks, life is swell for Titan fans and if he really does become a NBA first-round pick than the Titans will be laughing all the way to the (NCAA Tournament) bank.
With a healthy John Clemmons there is not a better backup point guard in the conference. Like Bobby Brown, Clemmons has tremendous quickness and really has a knack for seeing the entire floor and finding the open man. He is also a a very good defender. While he does not have one of the best-looking strokes on the team, he is not afraid to launch an occasional three point attempt ... sometimes he even makes them. A better walk-on there is not in the Big West.
Damien Massey is a redshirt walk-on who has really progressed in his short stint thus far. Despite the improvement he is not likely to see much action this year due to the numbers ahead of him. His contributions and hard work ethic during practice will certainly help the team in the long run.
Grade: A+; All is well at the point guard position.