Cal State Fullerton’s basketball team finished the regular season in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big West Conference.
But when the conference announces the winners of its top awards today, the Titans have a prominent candidate for all three major awards.
The awards are chosen by conference coaches.
--Cedric Ceballos, who led the conference in scoring with a 20.6-point average and was second in rebounding with an 8.7 average, is one of two prominent candidates for the player of the year award.
Nevada Las Vegas’ Stacey Augmon is the other top candidate. Augmon wasn’t among the top 10 scorers, but he was fifth in rebounding with a 7.4 average. Augmon has a couple of big factors in his favor, though. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, and his UNLV team won the conference title.
“Cedric was conference player of the week twice, and nobody else did that,” Fullerton Coach John Sneed said. “But I think the team that wins the championship deserves to win an honor like this.”
--Sneed is one of the prominent choices for coach of the year, after guiding the Titans to a 15-12 regular-season record after being named acting coach in November. The chief competition is Neil McCarthy, who guided New Mexico State to a 19-9 record and second place in the conference. Bill Berry of San Jose State also might get some support, as a vote of confidence from his peers after a midseason walkout of 10 players.
“That award isn’t for me to decide,” Sneed said. “That’s for your own peers to decide. If you win that, that means something. It’s voted on by people who really understand what you do.”
Sneed said he is impressed with McCarthy’s job this season.
“They’ve been the hottest team in the conference lately,” he said. “They’re the only team that swept us.”
--Wayne Williams, the Titans’ point guard, is a candidate for freshman of the year. Williams is averaging 8.4 points, but his season is best remembered for his court leadership at point guard, which Sneed said is “the hardest position for a high school player to learn.” And, of course, he’s remembered for the 30-foot shot he sank to beat UNLV in overtime.
The competition apparently is Kendall Youngblood of Utah State, another freshman point guard, and Wilbert Hooker of Fresno State, a shooting guard.
Hooker has the best numbers. He is averaging 11.4 points and 3.1 rebounds a game. Youngblood is close behind at 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.
The Fullerton women’s basketball team might have done worse than to draw San Diego State in the first round Thursday, despite the fact that the Aztecs are 23-7 and have been ranked in the top 20 this season.
Fullerton has owned San Diego State lately, beating the Aztecs in the past five meetings, including twice this season.