Dillon Makes Most of His Opportunity With Titans


Ryan Dillon, a freshman guard on the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team, didn’t expect to become a starter and average 31 minutes a game this season.

However, an injury to junior swingman Brandon Campbell, a returning starter, in the season opener gave Dillon the opportunity for more playing time. He has started 15 of 21 games.

“I’ve gotten a lot of experience this season that I hope will help me later on,” he said.

Dillon, who is averaging 9.4 points, ranks third in the Big West Conference with an average of 2.7 three-point field goals per game. He is shooting 40.6% from behind the arc, fourth in the conference.


Dillon set a school record with 10 three-pointers in 15 attempts--including nine of 12 in the second half--in the Titans’ eight-point loss to Boise State at Fullerton in January.

Slowed by a hamstring injury, Dillon has relied more on his three-point shooting than he would prefer.

“I need to look for the drive more than I have,” he said. “It worked well for me in high school. The injury hasn’t stopped me from going for it. I just wasn’t looking for it as much earlier in the season.

“I know I need to develop it more because the defenses are going to expect me to go for threes all the time if I don’t. I think my game will change more that way next season.”

Dillon, who played at Victor Valley High, said setting the Titan record for three-pointers and making six of nine in another game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo boosted his confidence. He was five of 10 on three-point shots Saturday against Utah State.

Dillon is a grandson of Neale Stoner, a former athletic director at Fullerton and Illinois who played on the Titans’ first basketball team in 1960-61.


Dillon said his grandfather didn’t push him toward Fullerton. “He just told me he had a lot of respect for Coach [Donny] Daniels,” Dillon said. “ I think he mentioned me to Coach Daniels, and after that, it was between me and the coaches.”

Dillon said San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis also expressed interest.

“But I probably couldn’t have gone anywhere else and played as much as I have this season,” he said.

Dillon said he is optimistic about next season.

“I think we’ll be better next year when we get Brandon back and add some other players. I might only get 20 minutes a game next season, but I think I’ll feel stronger for those 20 minutes. And I’m confident that we’ll be good before I leave.”


January’s 9-0 mark was the best record for that month in UC Irvine men’s basketball history, eclipsing the 7-0 record in January 1982.

The Anteaters rank first in the Big West in free-throw percentage (73.%), three-point field goal percentage (39.7%) and three-point field-goal percentage defense (32.1%).

Senior forward Sean Jackson ranks first in the Big West in three-point field-goal percentage (45.6%). Freshman center Adam Parada’s 29 blocked shots ranks third. Parada is fifth in rebounding (6.0).


Standout junior guard Jerry Green, who turned 21 on Monday, is third in scoring (17.9%) and steals (1.52 a game) and fourth in free-throw percentage (80.6).

Senior forward Ben Jones ranks fifth in field-goal percentage (48.6).


The Cal State Fullerton softball (5-3) team will play in a tournament Thursday at Hawaii after losing a doubleheader against top-ranked UCLA last week.

“At this stage of the season, our goal is just to get better every game,” Titan Coach Michelle Gromacki said. “UCLA played great in the first game and [Bruin] Amanda Freed pitched very well, but I think the second game was an aftereffect of losing the first one.”

UCLA won the first game, 6-0, and the second, 18-3.


The men’s basketball game between UC Irvine and Pacific at the Bren Center Thursday begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be shown live on Fox Sports Net2. . . . Cal State Fullerton pitching coach Dave Serrano is on Baseball America’s list of 10 assistants who are the best candidates to become head coaches at major programs.


Staff writer Paul McLeod contributed to this story.