2008-09: Point Guard Preview

Cal State Fullerton head coach Bob Burton has 21 years of college coaching experience but there has never been a time during his career where he has only two returning players -- one starter and one reserve. The Titans' are coming off their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 30 years but with so many new faces what are the expectations for the 2008-09 season? Let's start with the point guards...

There's quite a battle going for the starting point guard spot and this will be the most difficult position to predict in terms of who starts and the distribution of playing time. In addition to the freshman tandem of Jacques Streeter and Ameer Shamsud-din, head coach Bob Burton may rotate in Josh Akognon, and perhaps even Marcio Lassiter.

It's way to early to call, but based on feedback from the coaches, it appears Streeter has the inside track. However, Shamsud-din has looked impressive in the first practice sessions held over the weekend. While Streeter is probably the better passer, Ameer is certainly the better shooter at this stage. Both are about equal on the defensive side of things and Streeter may have the edge on maturity needed to run the point. Both need to improve their floor leadership and asserting themselves in running the offense.

While Burton has started one freshman point guard during his tenure at Cal State Fullerton (Bobby Brown) you can't help but get the feeling Josh Akognon may see plenty of action at this position. For starters, Josh sees the point as his ticket to the NBA and he wants to prove that he is a capable point guard so he is campaigning hard for playing time. There's no doubt he has the speed and the handles to run the offense but, for the college game, he is certainly better suited at the off-guard position. As coach Burtons says, "you kind of like to see one of the best scorers in the country catching passes rather than making them."

Side note: Don't worry Akognon fans, Josh will see plenty of NBA scouts this season and sources say defense is really the key to whether or not he plays in the NBA, not if if he can or can't run the point.

Another interesting possibility is having Lassiter run the point. His advantage over the other three at this position is his size and his defense. While Lassiter is not the scoring threat of Akognon -- and really, who is? -- he does have a better stroke than the freshman duo and he certainly has game experience which has to make Burton feel more at ease.

TitanCentral.com Take: The freshmen are good players who will continue to get better. Are they ready to run a DI fast-paced offense? This is the big question of 2008-09 and it's easy to see why Burton is in experimental mode with Akognon and Lassiter. I would love to see Lassiter at the point (based on his defense alone) but just haven't seen him enough to know if he can consistently make the not-so-obvious pass and not sold yet on how well he can see the entire floor. With Akognon, count me as one who likes him receiving passes and improving his defense. That's his real ticket to the NBA.