2006-07 Preview: Point Guards

This segment of the 2006-07 review will focus on the point guard position and there is no shortage of talent as all reviewers with a half a brain gave the Titans an A or better. All-Big West first team selection Bobby Brown will lead the way for his fourth consecutive year. Talented sophomore Marcus Crenshaw and walk-on Winsor Williams will fill the void when needed.

Point Guards

Bobby Brown

Marcus Crenshaw

Winsor Williams

Previews: Throwback | DXDA Star  | TitanCentral | Rufus

Throwback

There has never been a player in Fullerton history with more to gain or lose in one season. A stellar year makes him money and his jersey is hanging off of the rafters. A bad year costs him money and there is no real legacy.

I have raved about Bobby Brown from the very beginning in these annual previews. He's been a phenomenal player for Fullerton. However, I can't condone his junior season. As his most ardent backer from moment one, I must admit that last year was just a nightmare. I don't feel the need to lament a about it in light of all the great things he's done here, but going forward I will continue to contend that the only other Fullerton PG that could carry Brown's gym bag would be Leon Wood and maybe Aaron Sunderland since I began following the program.

I hold Brown's ability in the highest esteem but at this point he's going to have to earn the post season hardware that he has already been handed by:

1) Playing much better defense (and I mean much better).
2) Hit the big money shot in crunch time when the game is hanging in the balance.
3) Display ability to be a leader and to display composure regardless how his personal game is going on that given night (it's not easy to do and may be a lot to ask of Bobby).
4) Catch fire from behind the arc at times similar to that of his first two seasons because that can simply carry a team especially on the road.
5) Win.

There. Easy......

Despite being hard on him before this final go-around Bobby Brown, for my money, is and has been overall the most important player to Fullerton basketball in the last 15 years. The most entertaining basketball player at Fullerton that I have ever seen. And finally, the best point guard in California as a sum of all parts.

Marcus Crenshaw is a welcome addition to the program. He's far better than the players we were used to seeing around here prior to Bob Burton's arrival. Appears to be a streaky left handed shooter and a pesky defender. I'm expecting big things from Crenshaw over the next three years so it's an exciting time to have guys like this around the program.

Winsor Williams looks to be a capable player for his given role. My main hope for a guy like Williams is that when you look back on the year, you can find a play or stints that he had that made a positive difference for that given season, even if his minutes are very limited.

Grade A+. The point guard position is in "best-case scenario mode" at Fullerton.

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DXDA Star

In honor of the forced retirement of Steve Bisheff, we will be dedicating our ledes to The Bish. (Many of you readers might not be familiar with the Bish. He was an anonymous columnist at some local paper who rose to fame as the foil of The Hater Nation.)

To really appreciate Bobby Brown, you had to see him play as a freshman as yours truly, God's gift to journalism did. Your mortal eyes could not see the superstar he was to become, but with more than 40 years in the business, I could see the greatness. When I saw Bobby Brown play I knew he was going to be a great, "new edition" to the team. I knew it would be Bobby's "prerogative" to lead the Titans to glory. I could sense that Bobby would lead the Titans to prominence from the West Coast, to the East Coast and all the way down to Houston. Not Whitney Houston though. But I find Bobby so fresh, he reminds me of that Bora-guy who I only reference in a desperate attempt to seem cool.

Think about it.

Wow, we are really going to miss the Bish. Moving on…

Bobby Brown certainly was a sensation during his freshman and sophomore seasons. So much so, he will be forgiven for his junior year. Chalk that up as an aberration. It seemed that the scouts in the stands did something players on the West Coast couldn't—get into the head of Brown. Hopefully a summer of humble pie and missed NBA aspirations have grounded the point guard. Brown is on the cusp of becoming the standard bearer for Cal State Fullerton men's hoops, but he is going to need to show the humility that he expressed during his first two years in a Titan uniform. Not the guy looking to wow the scouts during his junior year.

The Titans never lived up to their press clippings last season because they couldn't win the close games. The cardiac kids during the NIT run, looked as stiff as cadavers in close games the following season. Ralphy Holmes became a Cal State Fullerton legend leading the Titans to numerous overtime wins during his career. In a sport where great players are defined by their clutch moments, Brown needs to shine in these instances. He has done it before. Bobby, as a freshman, had the game-winning baskets in consecutive games against rivals Long Beach State and UC Irvine in 2004.

We need more of that. Brown has already meant so much to this program, but his legacy will always be remembered for what he does in his senior season. If he can revert to form from his freshman and sophomore seasons, you have a team that should be participating in March Madness. But if he has another clunker like his junior season, his career will be about as memorable as a Steve Bisheff column.

Grade: A

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TitanCentral

With 1,415 career points Bobby Brown will be chasing Leon Wood for most points as a Titan (1,876) and he will also be chasing his dreams to become a first-round selection in the 2007 NBA draft. First things first though.

By all appearances from practice sessions LB has returned from the numerous NBA camps with a newfound outlook on the point guard position. Yes he will score plenty of points in the new, faster-paced offense, but he will also be showcasing his passing and leadership abilities as well as proving to NBA scouts he can play defense. The same defense head coach Bob Burton swears will be much better this year. LB probably won't be making any all-defensive teams in the near future but he should be improved.

Bottom line for Brown is if he leads the Titans to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 28 years, first round guaranteed money is his for the taking.

Backing up LB this year will be Kent State transfer Marcus Crenshaw. Seeing how Brown will be playing the point when he is in the game, most of Crenshaw's time will be spent at the wing but when needed Crenshaw will provide the necessary minutes without the Titans offense missing a beat.

Crenshaw is an excellent outside shooter but also sees the floor extremely well. He is likely one of the top three point guards in the Big West right now but the southpaw will be shooting much more than passing this year. The other intangible that Crenshaw brings to the court is his toughness. He is from Detroit and he is a player who thrives under pressure and wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He may have to wait in line behind Scott Cutley and Brown for this opportunity but look for him to take a few chances here and there.

Like many Titans, Crenshaw needs to improve on his defense. For him it appears to simply be a lack of experience. The more he plays, the better he will get in this area.

Freshman Winsor Williams is a walk-on who performed well in the scrimmage against SDSU and looked decent against NAIA Cal Maritime. He struggled defensively against Hope but he does exude a lot of confidence in himself. Ideally he would not be coming off the bench in close games as this means the Titans have either suffered from the injury bug or Brown and Crenshaw are both in foul trouble.

Grade: A; Defense is only concern at this position.

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Rufus

Based on what I saw at the scrimmage, it looks like Bobby Brown brought something back from the NBA summer camps. He made some great passes to Josh Akognon and others, looked better in attacking the rim, played better defense, and returned to his old shooting form. If he can continue to improve on all those things, bring some quality wins, and lead the Titans into postseason play – he may finally live up to all the hype piled on him by the fans, and the media.

To date his record in the BW is 23 wins and 25 losses – so either all the BW point guards are NBA caliber or he is underachieving. LB must learn how to be a point guard for the Titans to be successful. I have no doubts that LB wants to play in the NBA and will give it his all to try to reach that level. If he trusts his teammates, I believe he has enough around him to show ME that he has become a POINT GUARD.

If you go strictly by the program guide, we only have one other point guard: Winsor Williams. He is a freshman walk-on. He is REALLY small, but if the scrimmage and the game against Cal-Maritime are any indications, he can pass, play defense, and is quick. I don't see him getting many minutes this year – but would not be afraid to use him if we suffer injuries, etc.

I believe we have two other point guards on our roster, and I am rating us from that viewpoint:

Marcus Crenshaw: will also play the wing this year for the Titans, but he IS a point guard. He is small, quick and can play defense. He is not afraid to put the ball up – if you lead the Detroit area in scoring in H.S., I guess you have that type of confidence. He made some outstanding passes in the Cal-Maritime game. His shot didn't fall too often in that game, but he did hit some 3 pointers and will contribute much to the Titans in the next three years. I think he will be LB's backup this year.

I think the threesome of LB, Ray-Ray, and Marcus form a very solid guard position for the Titans. It will be a duel between them and LB State's trio of Nixon, Houston, and Johnson for who's the best in the BW.

Grade: B+

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