After an amazing 2015-16 season with 26 wins and a run to state finals the Hornet’s Men’s basketball team looks to the new season to build off their previous success.
Fullerton had to re-stock their roster after losing their five top contributors from last season’s successful team and will certainly miss the veteran leadership of its core five.
“Our three returners have made sure a culture of accountability and hard work has withstood the graduation of our veteran team,” said Head Coach Perry Webster. “We are very pleased with the returners and their ability to carry on a tradition of hard work.”
League MVP Ian Fox headlines the experience loss for the Hornets. Fox was one of the most exciting players in the state and a driving force behind the Hornet’s success last year. Fox averaged 14.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists and he was the Southern California Player of the Year. The Hornets look to continue their success without Fox who is now at Cal State Fullerton.
Kenny Barnes and Dillion Reise were two of the five contributors from last season who now play for Hope University. Barnes was the second leading scorer with 12.7 points and had 5.7 rebounds per game. Whereas Reise averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
Kendall Lauderdale and Nick Anderson round out the top five scorers that have departed. Anderson averaged 7.1 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. All five players had the most minutes on the team last season.
The Hornets come into the season as the 8th ranked team in the California preseason poll, but Fullerton is still in the running for another Orange Empire Conference championship.
“This is a completely different team. Last year’s success and failures have no bearing on this team. Our guys are focused on this season and making the most out of this year,” said coach Webster. “There is always pressure for our guys as we expect them to be focused to try and capture championships. This team and this program welcomes that pressure.”
The Hornets have only three players returning from last year’s State Semifinalist squad including, sophomore Nigel Carter, Andre Kennedy, and Dezmond Rowen averaged around 12.5 minutes and 3.1 points per game. The team will lean on them for their experience and veteran leadership.
“There are several newcomers to look forward to this season, most notably Ronne Readus and Vaj Rice who will take over for us down low,” said Webster, “We believe those two will have great years. They will need to have outstanding years for us to have the success throughout the season.”
The team won their first two games in the San Diego City College Tournament. The first game on Nov. 3 against San Diego Mesa the Hornets won 86-69, and the second game on Nov. 4 against Citrus, Fullerton won 79-72. The Hornets however, lost the Knights Invitational Championship on Nov. 5 by a score of 63-70.
Catch the team in their first home game of the season against Chaffey in the 34th Fullerton College Classic on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. the tournament runs from Nov. 8 to 11th.