Titan Gym transformed into a banquet hall Sunday for a fundraiser dinner for supporters of Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball.
The event, hosted by Fullerton alumnus Cedric Ceballos, also featured former Titan Bruce Bowen as a guest speaker.
After a silent auction of gift baskets, Ceballos auctioned off signed jerseys from Bowen, James Harden and Kobe Bryant.
The auction also sold two Final Four coach tickets and “The Cedric Ceballos Experience,” which included dinner with the CSUF legend before going to a Lakers game with tickets from the Buss family, the Lakers’ owners.
While the guests enjoyed dinner and drinks, Bowen spoke about basketball and how he was taught the importance of character and hard work, from his first day at CSUF throughout his basketball career and playing in the NBA.
Titans Head Coach Dedrique Taylor enjoys events like these where his players can interact with the community and spend time with people face-to-face.
“I like it for the engagement part. They get to see our guys in different settings and actually interact with them,” Taylor said. “I think that’s one of the best parts of our program is the kinds of kids that we have, the character that they have … I think it’s an important piece to being successful, and these types of events allow our fans to get up close and personal and see what kind of young men we’re fortunate enough to be able to have in our program.”
Taylor is grateful for the time Bowen and Ceballos give back to CSUF’s basketball program, not just through the event, but also by motivating his players with advice and by coming to practice, where Taylor said Ceballos will still play with the current team.
“You’ve got a guy who’s played with some of the greatest players, and when I introduced him one time a couple years ago, I introduced him as a 1992 dunk contest champion and it dawned on me that they weren’t even born. So it’s good for them to be able to catch up with some history as far as our school is concerned, but with the game of basketball itself,” Taylor said.
As for the Titans, they enjoy having a chance to meet their supporters rather than just seeing them in the stands.
“It gives people a chance to get to know me personally, because they come to the games but they don’t really know me. So I get to interact with them, and it’s just a good way to give back to them for all the support that they give us,” said Titans guard Kyle Allman.
Having similar roots to Ceballos and Bowen is also a confidence booster for the players, allowing them to believe they can make it to whatever level of basketball they want to get to.
“Anything is possible. We’re a small school, but it’s possible to get to the big time leagues that they’ve been thriving in. If they can do it, anybody can,” said Titans guard Landon Kirkwood.