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COLLEGE BASKETBALL 1998-99

Hawking Beaming Over Balance

Big West: Fullerton has leading scorer Harmon back, but coach can point to others for production.

November 19, 1998|LON EUBANKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton should have one of the Big West Conference's top players this season in Ike Harmon.

The question is whether the supporting cast will be strong enough to carry the Titans to their first winning season since 1992-93. Fullerton was 12-16 last season, 6-10 in the Big West.

Harmon, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, averaged 15.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in his first college season after sitting out a season as a Proposition 48 nonqualifier. Those figures ranked him 13th in the conference in scoring and 11th in rebounding.

"I like the balance between our inside game and outside game better than any team I've had at Fullerton," said Bob Hawking, who begins his fifth season as coach. "I think we'll be a good shooting team, and we won't have to rely on just one or two guys for that. We'll be able to keep defenses honest."

Mark Richardson, a 6-7 forward in his fourth season as a starter, appears to be more of a scoring threat than previously. Richardson has been solid on defense and as a rebounder, but averaged only 5.4 points last season.

Hawking said he expects Richardson to average in double figures this season.

Hawking also expects junior point guard Kenroy Jarrett to be a key player.

"He has excellent quickness, and his savvy for the game is catching up to his other abilities," Hawking said.

Hawking also sees improvement in 6-8 sophomore center Matt Caldwell and 6-4 senior swingman Jason Cunningham. Cunningham won an appeal to play, regaining a season of eligibility he lost when was erroneously ordered to sit out the 1996-97 season by the NCAA.

At least three newcomers also are expected to move into prominent roles.

Junior transfer Mark Murphy shot 51% from three-point range last season for Glendale Community College in Arizona. Freshmen guards Brandon Campbell of St. Louis and Josh Helbig of Belleville, Ill., also have promise. The 6-4 Campbell has a 41 1/2 inch vertical jump. He cleared 7-1 in the high jump and ran the 400 meters in 47.2 seconds at Cardinal Ritter High.

But the Titans' hopes still revolve around Harmon, whose strengths are his quickness and jumping ability.

"Most inside players have trouble with Ike's speed and quickness," Hawking said. "The thing we want him to do this season is step up more on defense. That's not always been a focus for him, but it's important for him to become a complete player."

Hawking said he plans to rotate Harmon between power forward and one of the perimeter positions this season.

Hawking also wants Harmon to avoid some of the unnecessary fouls that have caused him problems in the past. And he hopes he can avoid injuries.

Painful bunions developed on both of Harmon's big toes last season and he had to have surgery last spring. Then he sprained his left ankle two days before Monday's season opener at Kansas State and sat out the 72-51 loss.

Harmon, however, knows he is going to be called on to be a leader this season.

"I think I'm more prepared for that challenge now after last season," he said. "I want the coaches and my teammates to feel like they can count on me when the times get tough."

Richardson said they do.

"Ike is one of the most competitive people I've ever been around," he said. "He has always stepped up. When we need a big basket, he's the guy we look to."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

CAL STATE FULLERTON AT A GLANCE

SCHEDULE

Date; Opponent, Time Nov. 16: Kansas State 72, Fullerton 51 Saturday: San Diego State, 7 Nov. 28: Pepperdine, 7 Dec. 2: at Loyola Marymount, 7 Dec. 5: Saint Mary's, 7 Dec. 10: Montana State, 7 Dec. 12: at Saint Louis, 11 a.m. Dec. 19: at Portland, 7 Dec. 22: Quincy, 7 Dec. 27: at San Jose State, 2 Jan. 7: New Mexico State, 7 Jan. 9: North Texas, 7 Jan. 14: at Idaho, 7 Jan. 16: at Boise State, 6:30 Jan. 21: Long Beach State, 7 Jan. 23: Pacific, 7 Jan. 28: at UC Santa Barbara, TBA Jan. 30: at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, TBA Feb. 4: Utah State, 7 Feb. 6: at UC Irvine, 7 Feb. 11: at Nevada, 7:30 Feb. 13: UC Irvine, 7 Feb. 18: at Pacific, 7 Feb. 20: at Long Beach State, 5 Feb. 25: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 7 Feb. 27: UC Santa Barbara, 7 March 4: Big West tournament ROSTER

*--*

No. Player: Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. 3 Mark Murphy G 6-0 185 Jr. 5 Ike Harmon F 6-7 190 Jr. 14 Kenroy Jarrett G 5-11 160 Jr. 15 Danny Italiano G 6-5 190 Fr. 21 Jason Cunningham G/F 6-5 200 Sr. 25 Brandon Campbell G/F 6-4 205 Fr. 33 Matt Donahue G 6-1 170 Fr. 34 Josh Helbig G/F 6-5 195 Fr. 40 Josh Fischer F/C 6-9 210 Fr. 42 Mark Richardson F/C 6-7 215 Sr. 44 Mitch Deve C 7-2 290 Fr. 50 Matt Caldwell C 6-8 220 So.

*--*

RETURNING LEADERS

Scoring: Harmon 15.3 Rebounding: Harmon 6.4 Assists: Jarrett 43 (1.5) Steals: Harmon 28 (1.03) FG%: Richardson 50.0 FT%: Jarrett 81.8

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