2008-09: Frontline 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? Here's a look at the post players...

Redshirt junior Gerard Anderson has some serious game and its just a matter of when, not if, he explodes on the scene. Anderson will start at the "four" and, provided he stays out of foul trouble, will easily log 30+ minutes a game. As with all the newcomers, expect some early transfer/redshirt jitters and inconsistent play to take place during the first half (or so) of the season but once he settles in, he has a chance to be "Legen ... wait for it ... dary". Seriously, he will be good.

Gerard has great handles for a post player, a decent shot out to 15 feet and can give you an explosive dunk at any given moment. He has to have one of the highest vertical leaps in Titans history. He will also be counted on to take over the leadership role left behind by Scott Cutley. Big shoes to fill, no doubt.

At the "five" Titan fans may be somewhat surprised in what they see. If nothing else they will certainly have more size as junior transfers Ray Miller, Papa Guisse and Regan Andersen (all listed at 6-8) as well as redshirt junior Adam Thomas (7-2) have at least four inches on last year's starting center Marcus Morgan.

Miller is the likely starter while Papa Guisse, who appears to have serious upside, is pushing hard. Miller is a quiet, solid, dependable force who maintains good position and seems very polished and is the most likely of the transfers to make the least mistakes. Ray has good moves and should only get better under the tutelage of new Titans Big Man's coach Julius Hicks

Guisse is a long, athletic player with a good outside shot who rebounds well despite his lack of girth. During practice he shows signs of brilliance at one moment but at other times looks a little raw and has a lot to learn. His great attitude and willingness to listen to what the coaches say should benefit him sooner rather than later.

Regan Andersen is a late signee from Oxnard JC who is another one of those players who seem to do exactly what is asked of them. While he could use some upper body strength he does have good size and he seemed to really improve each practice. Coaches encourage and reward players who take a charge in practice and Regan must be leading the team in that category after the first three sessions. He is not an offensive force but he could provide valuable minutes off the bench for defensive and rebounding purposes.

Redshirt junior Adam Thomas, at 7-2, came into this year as the wild card. Those unfamiliar with him are surprised at his athleticism for a big man but quickly realize he has not played a lot of organized ball. Fundamentally he still has a long ways to go but, with the help of coach Hicks, and Thomas' willingness to learn, you can not give up on the Big Fella. How much he is committed to the game of basketball will determine how fast he will improve during his two years of college ball. Based on the first few practices Thomas still has a way to go. Learning to rebound should be his primary focus and once he masters that he will begin to be rewarded with playing time.

TitanCentral.com Take: In the early going at least, most of the minutes will be spread out among the top three in Gerard Anderson, Ray Miller and Papa Guisse. If they see early foul trouble look for relief from Regan Andersen. There is still hope for Thomas but he is the furthest behind at the early stages. While not very deep I think most people may be surprised at how little the drop-off is at these positions from last year. Obviously you can't replace the Big West Player of the Year but the top three should be able to compete in the Big West which is not known for superb post play. I would give this group a 'B' at this stage compared to the other conference schools.

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