After finishing last year with a tough loss to UC Irvine in the first round of the Big West Tournament, the Titans will look to get on track heading into the 2012-13 season.
They will have to do so in the first two games without new Interim Head Coach Andy Newman, who is suspended from the team for two games for NCAA violations. Assistant coach Julius Hicks will coach the team in Newman’s absence.
It will be tough for Cal State Fullerton to match last year’s impressive 21-10 season record. They finished second in Big West Conference regular season standings making it only the seventh time in the 52-year history of the program that CSUF finished a season with more than 20 wins and the fifth time they finished in either first or second place in conference.
Despite only having two returning starters and five returning players on the roster, there is no shortage of talent on this team. CSUF is the only team in conference that returns a pair of All Big West Performers with seniors D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn.
Seeley, a first team performer last year, averaged 17.3 points per game (fourth in the conference). Vaughn led the conference in free throw percentage at 0.847 and averaged 15.6 points a game earning him second team all-conference honors.
Seeley and Vaughn will lead a Titan offense that finished atop the conference in scoring, averaging 78 points a game, field goal percentage at 47.2 and three-point percentage at 40.4.
CSUF will also welcome many Division 1 transfers to the program this year. Sammy Yeager (Texas Christian University), Darius Nelson (University of Texas El Paso) and Alex Harris will look to make an immediate impact.
The Titans opened the campaign last night with an exhibition game against Cal State Los Angeles, before they head on the road for their season opener against Stanford University Monday night at 8:30 p.m.
It will be a happy homecoming of sorts for some of the players when they take to the court at Stanford. Seeley (Stockton), Vaughn (Oakland), and Alex Harris (Richmond) will be returning closer to home.
The game against Stanford will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, as will the Titans game against the University of Washington Dec. 2. Seeley played against both Stanford and Washington while at Cal Berkley. He racked up two points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists in 13 minutes of action against the Cardinals in his playing career.
CSUF will receive some national exposure this year, as ESPNU will televise the contest between the Titans and UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29, and when the CSUF travels to the Pyramid Feb. 13 to take on rival Long Beach State. There is also a possibility the Titans could be showcased on ESPNU two more times, and Fox Sports Prime Ticket will televise three games.
The Titans only have two home games in November counting last night’s exhibition game. They went 13-1 at Titan Gym last year, and they have not had a losing record at home in ten years.
Hawaii joined the Big West Conference this year as a precursor to next year’s makeover. That makeover includes changes in conference play as Pacific will drop out and San Diego State, and Boise State will join the Big West.