Q&A with Bob Burton, Part II

Bob Burton is entering his fourth year as men's basketball head coach at Cal State Fullerton. At 48-41 in his three seasons to date, Coach Burton has a .539 winning percentage, second best of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583) in the 1970s. Burton has more wins in his first three Titan seasons than any of his Div. I predecessors.

TitanCentral.com: School just started but what's going on currently in the program?

Bob Burton: We have been doing conditioning but you really can't tell much from that except that they are in bad shape.

Because of NCAA rules we can't watch them play as a team until next Friday. On September 15th you can have your whole team together but you still can't have them work out more than two hours a week.

So what I'm thinking about doing is having them shoot for a half hour one day and then get them out there on Friday and put them all together.

TitanCentral.com: Based on the early workouts, have any starters and/or newcomers been impressive?

Bob Burton: The greatest thing to happen to us was Bobby Browndoing all the NBA stuff. He's come back with a real understanding of what a point guard really needs to do.

He's never been a pure point guard. He's had the scoring mentality and we've wanted him to do that, we really needed him to do that, but I think we have some good players around him who can pick that up now.

You are still going to see a great athlete and you are going to see a guy we want to score but I think you are going to see a way better defender, a way better finisher and a better leader. He's got to not only do it for us to win but he has to do it to get where he wants to be. He found that out in the trials.

Frank Robinson has been absolutely phenomenal and he has really become a solid player. Last year he was going to be the second coming of Ralphy Holmes and he wasn't the second coming of Bob Burton. It was really an adjustment for him.

He talked to me the other night about this. He said to me, "Coach you told me this was going to happen and I wouldn't get it until the end of the year but I really had to experience it." And of course at the end of the year he was terrific.

I expect Frank to pick up right off where he was last year.

I think Ray Reed will go through a little bit of the stuff most guys who have sat out experience but he's a competitive kid. He's a great defender, he's tough, he's athletic and he can really score and he's going to be fun to watch.

Scott Cutley, I think he's going to be one of the great players to ever player here. Right now he has a weight problem but he's had some injuries. He's had ankle problems, he's pulled a hamstring so it's not really conducive to getting out and losing weight. He may be our most valuable player because he does all the things that you do to win a game and doesn't care about the individual stuff. He is the epitome of a winner.

May be a little off the subject but Ed Azzam (Westchester HS coach) told me when he had that phenomenal team at Westchester with Trevor Ariza, Brandon Heath, Ashante Cook and all these pro prospects that the one guy he could never take off the court was Scott Cutley. Scott Cutley didn't care about anything but winning.

I think our fans will love him. He's a great defender, he going to be taking charges, he's a leader. He's just got to get on this weight thing and stay healthy.

TitanCentral.com: How about a rundown of the other players?

Bob Burton: I think you will see a different player in Justin Burns. His improvement last year was phenomenal from the year before but now he is playing with the confidence of a senior. He's very serious and he's intent and I think he's going to be outstanding.

I know our biggest problem is going to be inside rebounding but I think he can play some five for us and that also depends on the newcomers coming in.

Ken Alexander is still getting himself in shape, didn't play as much during the summer as we'd like and that's because he had a lot of academic work to do. He gives us a guy who can score inside.

Chris Minardo is going to be a good player for us as well. He's one of our best outside shooters. He's not a typical 6-9 guy, he's not a low-block player. Obviously his challenge is strength and I don't know if he can put weight on. He has worked harder than anybody but he just seems to have a body that's having a hard time doing that. He's got skills and can really shoot it and he's only a sophomore which is terrific.

Then you have Curtis Battles, a crowd favorite, but it's a weight and conditioning problem for him too. The kid went from 380 to 305 and he actually played some minutes, and then he broke his leg. He went from 305 to 327 so for him to play he's got to get down to around 310 so he can run and contribute. He's strong as an ox. He's a great attitude guy who works his tail off.

Marcus Morgan has been a pleasant surprise since he's been here. Although we're not sure if he's going to redshirt or play because he's had some problems with his knee. He had surgery on it last year. He came back and played at West Valley but he shouldn't have but he's such a tough, competitive kid. Our trainers have tested him and they said his knee is not strong enough to play so he has a lot of reconditioning to get that going.

Marcus Crenshaw, we really like him. He gives us a guy who can play the one or the two which is terrific because he and LB can play together. He's super quick and can really shoot it. But again, another guy who has sat out an entire year but I think he's really adapted well. He's going to be a really good player for us.

Andrew Green is very strong, he's got some toughness inside, he's a big body. Like most of our guys we don't have a lot of height but he's very, very strong and he has a chance.

TitanCentral.com: You are obviously excited about this group of kids, both on the court and off the court.

Bob Burton: The thing that's so good about this whole group is the competition to play is better than we've ever had. I was telling a recruit about what it was like to play at Georgetown with only eight guys and we almost lost Danny Lambert after he got tangled up in the cables. Even last year at times.

Now every practice is going to be incredibly competitive and these are really competitive guys. That's the thing I like about them. I think that they're all very mature, they are all quality guys and they want to win and I think they know how to win.

This goes back to why I think they are going to be very good defensively. They have a good mind-set and they understand, "Yeah, offense is great but if you're going to win you've got to guard guys."