Cal State Fullerton Basketball

25 Mar 19
Tom Hoffarth's The Drill: More Farther Off the Wall

Mike Trout should have won a playoff game by now. Via @FiveThirtyEight: https://t.co/w1vSdHJVaY pic.twitter.com/5O4oxk0LpX — ABC News (@ABC) March 19, 2019 “I really see us winning a championship here.” – @MikeTrout pic.twitter.com/14MVChIMeU — Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 24, 2019 Breaking news from FiveThirtyEight.com (and reissued by ABC News): “Mike Trout should have won a […]

24 Mar 19
National Post

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Cal State Bakersfield (17-15) vs. Southern Utah (17-16) CIT Second Round, Centrum Arena, Cedar City, Utah; Monday, 7:30 p.m. EDT BOTTOM LINE: Cal State Bakersfield and Southern Utah will meet in the second round of the CIT. Southern Utah earned an 80-73 overtime win over Drake on Friday, while Cal State […]

23 Mar 19
Daily Breeze
Who was wearing No. 31 and what was with the green jersey during Pro Day at UCLA? Even if you are color challenged, you expected to see Bruin blue Tuesday at Spaulding Field when the recently minted former Bruins did their thing for scouts evaluating players in anticipation of the annual NFL draft. The young man in question was Jahlani Tavai, who spent five seasons in the sun and surf and lack of major media exposure as a University of Hawaii linebacker. Hawaii is a great trip. For a vacation. It’s an inefficient use of time for scouts. So it was that Tavai and seven teammates were invited to Westwood as a courtesy to them as well as a favor to the scouts. “It’s exciting,” the Mira Costa High grad said of the experience. “It’s a great honor to have the opportunity. It’s super exciting to be on the field running again, just showing my talents.” He also was pumped up for his teammates. FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai leads his teammates in the team’s traditional haka, or war cry, after defeating Air Force 34-27 in double overtime in an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) “It pretty awesome to see them after training this past eight weeks to prepare for the next level,” he said. Make that preparing for the opportunity to audition for the ultimate level of football. The next level would be the established-but-clearly-lower-level Canadian Football League (CFL), the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) or another yet-to-surface new league. But right now, do not tell these young men the goal is anything other than playing with the big boys. “My mindset is making it to the NFL,” Tavai said. That’s how he is wired. “When I don’t make it, then I’ll start looking at Plan B,” Tavai said. “So, right now, I’m just focused on making it to the NFL.” It was clear he meant if he does not make it, because no matter how deep in the shadows players may have been in college, they shoot for the stars at Pro Day. Tavai suffered a setback late last season when he was sidelined with a shoulder injury requiring surgery, which was done here at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic. “I heard they were the best of the best, and I needed the best of the best,” he said. Early reports had him skipping Pro Day and not working out for scouts until April. But there he was Tuesday on the field at UCLA, demonstrating the talent that made him Hawaii’s best player on defense. “Dr. (Michael) Banffy did my surgery,” he said. “He did a tremendous job on my shoulder and it shows.” Tavai comes from a large football family, much to the delight of Mira Costa football coach Don Morrow. To suggest Morrow was happy to have, first Jordan, then J.R. and Jahlani and, finally, Justus Tavai is an understatement. Jordan would go on to play at El Camino College and Kansas; J.R. to USC, the Tennessee Titans and now the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL; Jahlani to Hawaii; and baby brother Justus to Hawaii via El Camino. All were/are heat-seeking defensive players on the line, at linebacker or combo players at both positions. J.R. grinned when asked what advice he has given Jahlani. Rather than reveal trade secrets, he simply said, “He’s done everything I asked him to do.” This will please scouts who always are looking for players who are eager to please. It’s called being coachable. They have plenty of video of Jahlani to grade him in games. Is this all there is? Not if you are a scout. They dug deeper during Pro Day to see what they could learn from drills about how his hips move, which is critical for linebackers who have to turn and run with receivers or change directions and track free-wheeling quarterbacks in the modern stretch-the-field NFL. They wanted to see if he has the body flexibility to get low and stay low. They wanted to see if he can catch the ball. And more. Scouts are looking for players with Tavai’s motor. He does not float around. He hustles. He attacks. He does it with a vengeance, which is a requirement in the NFL generally and for linebackers specifically. What the scouts, their coaches, management and perhaps even owners saw will become public when the draft is held April 25-27. Clearing out the mini-notebook It’s happening: Harbor College Hall of Fame basketball player and coach Donnie Daniels will be inducted into the first Assistant Basketball Coach Hall of Fame class, a salute to his work on Final Four staffs at UCLA, Utah and Gonzaga, where he currently works. Daniels also was a player, assistant coach and head coach at Cal State Fullerton. … Hmmm: There are those who believe the John Calipari-to-UCLA rumor was started by Calipari, perhaps to prompt Kentucky to boost his salary. … Bottom line: A case can be made that Lynn Swann does not deserve to be fired as USC athletic director over the admissions scandal. A stronger case can be made that Swann comes off as clueless as Trojans athletic director. Mike Waldner can be reached at mwsptcol@aol.com.
23 Mar 19
SCNG
Who was wearing No. 31 and what was with the green jersey during Pro Day at UCLA? Even if you are color challenged, you expected to see Bruin blue Tuesday at Spaulding Field when the recently minted former Bruins did their thing for scouts evaluating players in anticipation of the annual NFL draft. The young man in question was Jahlani Tavai, who spent five seasons in the sun and surf and lack of major media exposure as a University of Hawaii linebacker. Hawaii is a great trip. For a vacation. It’s an inefficient use of time for scouts. So it was that Tavai and seven teammates were invited to Westwood as a courtesy to them as well as a favor to the scouts. “It’s exciting,” the Mira Costa High grad said of the experience. “It’s a great honor to have the opportunity. It’s super exciting to be on the field running again, just showing my talents.” He also was pumped up for his teammates. FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai leads his teammates in the team’s traditional haka, or war cry, after defeating Air Force 34-27 in double overtime in an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) “It pretty awesome to see them after training this past eight weeks to prepare for the next level,” he said. Make that preparing for the opportunity to audition for the ultimate level of football. The next level would be the established-but-clearly-lower-level Canadian Football League (CFL), the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) or another yet-to-surface new league. But right now, do not tell these young men the goal is anything other than playing with the big boys. “My mindset is making it to the NFL,” Tavai said. That’s how he is wired. “When I don’t make it, then I’ll start looking at Plan B,” Tavai said. “So, right now, I’m just focused on making it to the NFL.” It was clear he meant if he does not make it, because no matter how deep in the shadows players may have been in college, they shoot for the stars at Pro Day. Tavai suffered a setback late last season when he was sidelined with a shoulder injury requiring surgery, which was done here at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic. “I heard they were the best of the best, and I needed the best of the best,” he said. Early reports had him skipping Pro Day and not working out for scouts until April. But there he was Tuesday on the field at UCLA, demonstrating the talent that made him Hawaii’s best player on defense. “Dr. (Michael) Banffy did my surgery,” he said. “He did a tremendous job on my shoulder and it shows.” Tavai comes from a large football family, much to the delight of Mira Costa football coach Don Morrow. To suggest Morrow was happy to have, first Jordan, then J.R. and Jahlani and, finally, Justus Tavai is an understatement. Jordan would go on to play at El Camino College and Kansas; J.R. to USC, the Tennessee Titans and now the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL; Jahlani to Hawaii; and baby brother Justus to Hawaii via El Camino. All were/are heat-seeking defensive players on the line, at linebacker or combo players at both positions. J.R. grinned when asked what advice he has given Jahlani. Rather than reveal trade secrets, he simply said, “He’s done everything I asked him to do.” This will please scouts who always are looking for players who are eager to please. It’s called being coachable. They have plenty of video of Jahlani to grade him in games. Is this all there is? Not if you are a scout. They dug deeper during Pro Day to see what they could learn from drills about how his hips move, which is critical for linebackers who have to turn and run with receivers or change directions and track free-wheeling quarterbacks in the modern stretch-the-field NFL. They wanted to see if he has the body flexibility to get low and stay low. They wanted to see if he can catch the ball. And more. Scouts are looking for players with Tavai’s motor. He does not float around. He hustles. He attacks. He does it with a vengeance, which is a requirement in the NFL generally and for linebackers specifically. What the scouts, their coaches, management and perhaps even owners saw will become public when the draft is held April 25-27. Clearing out the mini-notebook It’s happening: Harbor College Hall of Fame basketball player and coach Donnie Daniels will be inducted into the first Assistant Basketball Coach Hall of Fame class, a salute to his work on Final Four staffs at UCLA, Utah and Gonzaga, where he currently works. Daniels also was a player, assistant coach and head coach at Cal State Fullerton. … Hmmm: There are those who believe the John Calipari-to-UCLA rumor was started by Calipari, perhaps to prompt Kentucky to boost his salary. … Bottom line: A case can be made that Lynn Swann does not deserve to be fired as USC athletic director over the admissions scandal. A stronger case can be made that Swann comes off as clueless as Trojans athletic director. Mike Waldner can be reached at mwsptcol@aol.com.
23 Mar 19
Archy Worldys

National Basketball Federation Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L Pct GB x-Toronto 51 21 .708 – x-Philadelphia 47 25 653 4 Boston 43 29 .597 8 Brooklyn 37 36,507 14.5 New York 14 58,194 37 Southeast Division W L Pct GB Miami 35 36 .493 – Orlando 34 38 .472 1.5 Charlotte 32 39 .451 […]

23 Mar 19
Nouvelles Du Monde

PRÉPARATION GARÇON BASKETBALL Tournoi d'État OHSAA Jeudi, demi-finales Division III » Canal Winchester Récol. Prep 48, Cincinnati Purcell Marian 41 Cleveland Heights luthérienne de l'est 58, Cardinal Stritch 53 de l'Oregon FINAL: Samedi, 10h45 Division II Columbus South 77, Thornville Sheridan 55 Trotwood-Madison 102, Akron Buchtel 72 FINALE: samedi, 2 Vendredi, demi-finales Division IV Berlin […]

22 Mar 19
Archy news nety

National Basketball Association Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB x-Toronto 51 21 0.708 – x-Philadelphia 47 25 0,653 4 Boston 43 29 0.597 8 Brooklyn 37 36 0.557 14.5 New York 14 58,194 37 Southeast division W L PCT GB Miami 35 36 0.493 – Orlando 34 38 .472 1.5 Charlotte 32 39 […]

22 Mar 19
Nouvelles Du Monde

Asssociation nationale de Basketball Conférence orientale Division Atlantique W L Pct GB x-Toronto 51 21 .708 – x-Philadelphia 47 25 .653 4 Boston 43 29 .597 8 Brooklyn 37 36 .507 14,5 New York 14 58 .194 37 Division du sud-est W L Pct GB Miami 35 36 .493 – Orlando 34 38 .472 1,5 […]

22 Mar 19
CBS Los Angeles

The Anteaters have won their first ever NCAA tournament game in school history.

22 Mar 19
Parlay Game

The first full day of March Madness is behind us and on Friday the field will be reduced to 32 teams. Parlay Game's group of experts in college basketball took into account the best and the worst Thursday, and is preparing for another exciting day. What surprised you the most on the first day of […]

22 Mar 19
Whittier Daily News
FULLERTON — Cal State Fullerton basketball fans will long remember the career contributions of seniors Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad more than Thursday’s funky footnote to the 2019 season. The Titans hosted Cal State Bakersfield in a first-round game of the College Insiders.com Tournament (CIT) at Titan Gym, got off to a lousy start, fell behind by 18 at halftime and then rallied for a late tie before dropping a 66-58 decision. Fullerton ripped off a 20-4 run to begin the second half, fell back behind by nine but forged a tie at 53 with 2:28 left but could only add one field goal the rest of the game. Ahmad (20), Allman (13) and Jackson Rowe (20) scored all but five of Fullerton’s points, while James Suber and Jarkel Joiner had 17 each for Bakersfield. The Titans, who advanced to the Big West Tournament title game for the second year in a row, finished the season 16-18. The two seniors led the Titans to three consecutive postseason appearances, a first in program history, and three straight seasons of double-digit wins in Big West Conference play, also a first. Their four-year careers represent arguably the high point in Titans lore since Bobby Dye’s 1978 team reached the NCAA Tournament regional finals. “I was concerned about our mental state,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said afterward. The Titans played in the CIT two seasons ago and Athletic Director Jim Donovan is the chairman of the CIT selection committee. “I was worried they’d be a little out of it after the (Big West) title game last weekend. “I was just proud that they came back and gave themselves a chance to win. They played with pride and purpose. I always think players will want to lace it up and keep playing, but it was a long season.” The longest in Fullerton history at 34 games, which included the most adventurous nonconference road slate ever. Ahmad finished his career with 1,768 points, third on the Titans career list, and Allman finished at 1,680 to rank fifth all-time. “I credit them for what they’ve done for the program,” Taylor said. “They came in and played right away as freshmen and put in unbelievably hard work to become productive players. “They helped us build a true program that’s now respected nationally, and they have especially gone out on top in regard to conference play.” The Titans were just 3 for 19 from the field in the first half, making just one field goal in the first 16-plus minutes while letting the Roadrunners grab 11 offensive rebounds. Ahmad picked up a pair of fouls during a brief altercation, leaving the court late in the half. The fouls came a few minutes after he was clubbed in the head while driving to the basket and came up looking woozy. Trailing by just five with six minutes left in the half despite their shooting woes, the Titans let Bakersfield close the half on a 17-4 run for a 34-18 lead. But Allman made a basket, Ahmad hit three straight 3-pointers and Rowe followed with a pair of baskets to get the Titans back into the game early in the second half. An Allman basket tied the score at 53, but Suber scored inside to give the Roadrunners the lead, and the Titans missed shots on their next three possessions. Bakersfield made its free throws down the stretch to clinch it. The Roadrunners, who will join the Big West beginning with the 2020-21 season, are now 17-15. They came in having lost their last six games and nine of their last 10. At one point, they were 15-6 overall and 6-1 in Western Athletic Conference play before the skid. .@CSFCoachTaylor on tonight’s game. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/0BDHXJ0kCc — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019 .@CSFCoachTaylor on looking ahead to the spring and summer. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/YZvibdkGcD — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019
22 Mar 19
Orange County Register
FULLERTON — Cal State Fullerton basketball fans will long remember the career contributions of seniors Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad more than Thursday’s funky footnote to the 2019 season. The Titans hosted Cal State Bakersfield in a first-round game of the College Insiders.com Tournament (CIT) at Titan Gym, got off to a lousy start, fell behind by 18 at halftime and then rallied for a late tie before dropping a 66-58 decision. Fullerton ripped off a 20-4 run to begin the second half, fell back behind by nine but forged a tie at 53 with 2:28 left but could only add one field goal the rest of the game. Ahmad (20), Allman (13) and Jackson Rowe (20) scored all but five of Fullerton’s points, while James Suber and Jarkel Joiner had 17 each for Bakersfield. The Titans, who advanced to the Big West Tournament title game for the second year in a row, finished the season 16-18. The two seniors led the Titans to three consecutive postseason appearances, a first in program history, and three straight seasons of double-digit wins in Big West Conference play, also a first. Their four-year careers represent arguably the high point in Titans lore since Bobby Dye’s 1978 team reached the NCAA Tournament regional finals. “I was concerned about our mental state,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said afterward. The Titans played in the CIT two seasons ago and Athletic Director Jim Donovan is the chairman of the CIT selection committee. “I was worried they’d be a little out of it after the (Big West) title game last weekend. “I was just proud that they came back and gave themselves a chance to win. They played with pride and purpose. I always think players will want to lace it up and keep playing, but it was a long season.” The longest in Fullerton history at 34 games, which included the most adventurous nonconference road slate ever. Ahmad finished his career with 1,768 points, third on the Titans career list, and Allman finished at 1,680 to rank fifth all-time. “I credit them for what they’ve done for the program,” Taylor said. “They came in and played right away as freshmen and put in unbelievably hard work to become productive players. “They helped us build a true program that’s now respected nationally, and they have especially gone out on top in regard to conference play.” The Titans were just 3 for 19 from the field in the first half, making just one field goal in the first 16-plus minutes while letting the Roadrunners grab 11 offensive rebounds. Ahmad picked up a pair of fouls during a brief altercation, leaving the court late in the half. The fouls came a few minutes after he was clubbed in the head while driving to the basket and came up looking woozy. Trailing by just five with six minutes left in the half despite their shooting woes, the Titans let Bakersfield close the half on a 17-4 run for a 34-18 lead. But Allman made a basket, Ahmad hit three straight 3-pointers and Rowe followed with a pair of baskets to get the Titans back into the game early in the second half. An Allman basket tied the score at 53, but Suber scored inside to give the Roadrunners the lead, and the Titans missed shots on their next three possessions. Bakersfield made its free throws down the stretch to clinch it. The Roadrunners, who will join the Big West beginning with the 2020-21 season, are now 17-15. They came in having lost their last six games and nine of their last 10. At one point, they were 15-6 overall and 6-1 in Western Athletic Conference play before the skid. .@CSFCoachTaylor on tonight’s game. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/0BDHXJ0kCc — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019 .@CSFCoachTaylor on looking ahead to the spring and summer. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/YZvibdkGcD — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019
22 Mar 19
SCNG
FULLERTON — Cal State Fullerton basketball fans will long remember the career contributions of seniors Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad more than Thursday’s funky footnote to the 2019 season. The Titans hosted Cal State Bakersfield in a first-round game of the College Insiders.com Tournament (CIT) at Titan Gym, got off to a lousy start, fell behind by 18 at halftime and then rallied for a late tie before dropping a 66-58 decision. Fullerton ripped off a 20-4 run to begin the second half, fell back behind by nine but forged a tie at 53 with 2:28 left but could only add one field goal the rest of the game. Ahmad (20), Allman (13) and Jackson Rowe (20) scored all but five of Fullerton’s points, while James Suber and Jarkel Joiner had 17 each for Bakersfield. The Titans, who advanced to the Big West Tournament title game for the second year in a row, finished the season 16-18. The two seniors led the Titans to three consecutive postseason appearances, a first in program history, and three straight seasons of double-digit wins in Big West Conference play, also a first. Their four-year careers represent arguably the high point in Titans lore since Bobby Dye’s 1978 team reached the NCAA Tournament regional finals. “I was concerned about our mental state,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said afterward. The Titans played in the CIT two seasons ago and Athletic Director Jim Donovan is the chairman of the CIT selection committee. “I was worried they’d be a little out of it after the (Big West) title game last weekend. “I was just proud that they came back and gave themselves a chance to win. They played with pride and purpose. I always think players will want to lace it up and keep playing, but it was a long season.” The longest in Fullerton history at 34 games, which included the most adventurous nonconference road slate ever. Ahmad finished his career with 1,768 points, third on the Titans career list, and Allman finished at 1,680 to rank fifth all-time. “I credit them for what they’ve done for the program,” Taylor said. “They came in and played right away as freshmen and put in unbelievably hard work to become productive players. “They helped us build a true program that’s now respected nationally, and they have especially gone out on top in regard to conference play.” The Titans were just 3 for 19 from the field in the first half, making just one field goal in the first 16-plus minutes while letting the Roadrunners grab 11 offensive rebounds. Ahmad picked up a pair of fouls during a brief altercation, leaving the court late in the half. The fouls came a few minutes after he was clubbed in the head while driving to the basket and came up looking woozy. Trailing by just five with six minutes left in the half despite their shooting woes, the Titans let Bakersfield close the half on a 17-4 run for a 34-18 lead. But Allman made a basket, Ahmad hit three straight 3-pointers and Rowe followed with a pair of baskets to get the Titans back into the game early in the second half. An Allman basket tied the score at 53, but Suber scored inside to give the Roadrunners the lead, and the Titans missed shots on their next three possessions. Bakersfield made its free throws down the stretch to clinch it. The Roadrunners, who will join the Big West beginning with the 2020-21 season, are now 17-15. They came in having lost their last six games and nine of their last 10. At one point, they were 15-6 overall and 6-1 in Western Athletic Conference play before the skid. .@CSFCoachTaylor on tonight’s game. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/0BDHXJ0kCc — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019 .@CSFCoachTaylor on looking ahead to the spring and summer. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/YZvibdkGcD — Titans Men's Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 22, 2019
22 Mar 19
National Post

FULLERTON, Calif. — James Suber posted 17 points as Cal State Bakersfield beat Cal State Fullerton 66-58 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Thursday night. The Roadrunners finished on a 13-5 run after seeing all of an 18-point halftime lead disappear. The Titans tied it at 53 on a layup by […]

21 Mar 19
Pasadena Star News
SAN JOSE — UC Irvine traces its journey in degrees, not miles. On Thanksgiving weekend of 2011, it shivered at the Great Alaska Shootout. It played three games and lost three games, and the final one was to the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, a Division II school that was supposed to be the friendly host. It wasn’t close, either. The 77-63 loss meant the Anteaters were 0-6 in Russell Turner’s second coaching season, piggybacking on a 13-19 debut. UCI produces “smart kids,” as Turner noted said here Thursday. They have no trouble with belief. But they need evidence. “We were thinking, what’s going on?” Michael Wilder said. “Fortunately we won our next game, against San Diego. We didn’t win a lot of games those first two years, but we kept getting better. We believed in what Coach was doing.” UC Irvine’s Friday morning brunch is a first-round South Regional game against Kansas State, the Big 12 Tournament champion. It is UCI’s second trip to the NCAA Tournament. The first trip was 2015, a two-point loss to Louisville, in Turner’s fifth season. There were no bread crumbs to follow, no precedent to honor. There had been good players at UCI, but no instructional manual, no map to get from here and there. Turner has drawn that map. “He came after my freshman year,” said Wilder, now a UCI assistant coach. “He was with the Warriors, had coached at Wake Forest and Stanford. We knew he had the background. That first meeting, we were all sitting there in the gym and he said, ‘I’m rolling with you guys.’ “Then he brought in seven freshmen that second year and he said it was time to make a push. We took a while figuring it out. But I remember that he was very certain, very assertive in what his vision was.” Wilder thinks of a first-round Big West Tournament upset of Cal State Fullerton, at the end of Turner’s second season (12-20). The next year, UCI got to the Big West final. The year after that brought an NIT bid. The year after that brought Louisville. UCI’s trademark was the 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye. He at least stirred some interest, although he was only dominant as a shot-discourager. As Turner said, “That team didn’t put our school on the map, but it put it on the bracket.” Today’s UCI team is more of what Turner wants. He looks for locally-grown high school players, identified early, not recruited by the TV leagues. Max Hazzard, Collin Welp and 7-foot-1 Solomon Ruddell were redshirted, as is Devin Cole this year. Who redshirts basketball players these days? You’re more likely to see a kid “reclassify” to play early. But the Anteaters did not build this program at the drive-by window. That’s the benefit of campus apathy. Students are living and dying with test scores, not hoop scores. A basketball team, with nobody peering over its shoulder, can get better at its own pace. “In a way, it’s an advantage to not being in a fishbowl,” Wilder said. “You can lock in and do your work. This group keeps its head down.” Heads were down and tongues were out, during that first year. “Every little thing, you had to do right,” Wilder said, laughing. “If he ever saw you and you weren’t in the right defensive stances, you were running stairs pretty shortly. “We noticed how demanding he was on the littlest things. And he was the most boisterous coach that I’d ever been around. But on the other hand, he was really patient for someone that demanding. He was willing to recruit the young guys and do it right. He knew it would take time.” Last November, UCI went to Kansas State, fell behind 11-0 and lost 71-49. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]“They’re probably better this year,” Turner said. “They’re an excellent defensive team, frustrating to play. We’re that team in the Big West, but they’re that team in the Big 12, and that’s different. Last year they sped us up. We were shellshocked by their athleticism and length.” According to Ken Pomeroy’s analytics, Kansas State is fourth nationally in defensive efficiency. Its opponents score 59.2 points per game and are 14.5 points below their averages. “If you don’t come to school as a good defensive player, they’re going to make sure you are before you get out of there,” Barry Brown Jr. said. As usual, UCI’s nickname fascinated national strangers on Thursday, and someone asked Turner how the mascot ranks. “It’s the best, and it’s not even close,” Turner said. “It’s fun, it’s unique, it gets your attention.” Compared to where Turner found it, it’s also warm.