Titans Own Nutwood Avenue

Fullerton, Calif. - Senior guard Josh Akognon scores 25 points in 22 minutes while five other Titans were also in double figures Thursday night as Cal State Fullerton cruised to a 106-60 non-conference men's basketball victory over cross-street rival Hope International.

Since Hope was clearly overmatched from the beginning, individual player evaluations are being put on hold. Here are, however, some random thoughts and observations from the game:

More like a boulevard. Jacques Streeter once again showed amazing court vision and decision-making. Sure it was only Hope (in fact, lets just qualify that every comment in this post begins with these five words) but the freshman has what it takes to be a DI point guard. Fantastic court presence and the fact that he and Akognon appear to be bonding could be a good indication of how well we do in conference. 12 assists -- 2 turnovers --in 24 minutes, are you kidding me? And that's just what the boxscore tells you. His composure-factor is off the charts right now.

The Torch has been lit. Josh Akognon made it look almost too easy last night. 6 for 11 on threes brings his 3-point field goal percentage to 40%.

Reasons to Like Rhymes. Chris Rhymes played his first game of the year after coming off knee surgery and Shakespeare would be proud (Where did that come from?). He dribbled, he drove, he slashed, he rebounded, he fell hard to the ground and he shot from the outside, all while paying at an estimated 75% of his abilities. Nice debut to shake some rust off but don't expect the real Rhymes to appear until we hit Big West conference play.

Areas for Concern. Defense, post play and rebounding. Yes, it's a lot but how much we improve in these areas are the key ingredients to how many wins we will see this year. Post play is the biggest worry. Gerard Anderson is one of the best in the Big West, no doubt about it, but we will need a lot more. Ray Miller had some nice stats but he is still far behind. Papa Guisse plays hard but lacks strength to battle even the Hope-sized big men. Adam Thomas has upside but not sure if his reaction-time deficiencies and lack of game experience, among other things, can be overcome to help us this year. Look for a four-guard lineup when Anderson needs a breather and Rhymes is near 100%. Or maybe we will play more zone in the future.

Tough Act to Come. We now begin our toughest part of the non-conference schedule with a trip to Big Sky favorite Portland State on Sunday. Five straight away-from-home games where we will more than likely be the underdogs is going to challenge the players and coaches (as well as the fans). If this were the communications world, we should come out of these five games completely field tested. If we were Long Beach State we would be hoping for five moral victories (and a 2-6 record). For Cal State Fullerton basketball, and the Bob Burton era, one thing is certain, it will be exciting to watch.