Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball is not a blue blood program which isn’t a secret. But throughout its 60-year history, CSUF men’s basketball has produced perennial talent through its program. Although they may not be nationally recognized as household names, former Titans have made a name for themselves throughout their basketball careers.
Headlining the Titan basketball program is “The Point-a-Minute Man” Cedric Ceballos. The 6-foot-6-inch forward won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1992 as he dunked blindfolded. In 1995, Ceballos was also named to the NBA All-Star team when he played for the hometown Los Angeles Lakers. He played 11 seasons in the NBA where he made appearances for the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks.
A junior college product, Ceballos played two seasons with the Titans after he transferred from Ventura College. He averaged 22 points per game and 10 rebounds during his two seasons and ended his Fullerton career with an excellent 46% shooting percentage from the field.
Ceballos played 58 games for the Titans and scored 1,284 points and averaged the most points per game among all Titans. For Fullerton, he ranks 10th in total career points and sixth in career rebounds with an average of 10 boards per game.
Joining Ceballos in the 1989-90 season is Bruce Bowen. Bowen, an all-time NBA defender, played at Titan Gym from 1989-93.
At CSUF, Bowen’s best season came his senior year when he averaged 16 points per game and was 10th in the Big West with a 46% shooting percentage. The 6-foot-7-inch forward ended his career seventh in career blocks and steals in the CSUF basketball lore.
Following his collegiate career, he struggled to begin a career in the NBA after going undrafted. He had stints with different ball clubs across Europe and in the Continental Basketball Association before signing a 10-day contract with the Miami Heat in 1997. In his lone appearance, he had one block in his one minute of playing time.
Bowen found footing the following season signing a contract with the Boston Celtics. After his stints with the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, he returned to Miami via trade where he established himself as one of the league’s premier defenders as he made his first All-Defensive team appearance in 2001.
Bowen signed with the San Antonio Spurs the season after and went on to win three championships with the franchise and was named to an All-Defensive team for eight years in a row. His No. 12 jersey was retired by the Spurs joining the likes of Hall-of-Fame players David Robinson and Tim Duncan.
But before Ceballos and Bowen, there was point guard Leon Wood, he dominated the early ‘80s of the CSUF history books. The 6-foot-3-inch journeyman played six seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Washington Bullets, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.
At the time when Wood retired from college play, he was the all-time leader in points scored for CSUF. He played from 1981-84, scoring 1,876 points in 91 games, averaged 20 points per game throughout three seasons as a Titan, after he transferred from the University of Arizona. He was not just a proven scorer, but a playmaker as well on the court. Wood has 744 assists in his career, the most out of any player in CSUF basketball history.
Joining the list is three-point specialist Josh Akognon, who played his first two collegiate seasons for Washington State and before transferring to CSUF. Once he moved, Akognon made the most of his opportunity. In his first season with the Titans, Akognon averaged 20 points per game, and shot 39% from three-point line on nine attempts per game.
He improved his offense the next season as he scored 23 points per game and received Big West Player of the Year honors in 2009. Once he finished with the Titans, Akognon ended his impressive career at seventh in scoring all-time with only 64 games played.
After going undrafted in the NBA, Akognon journeyed through the EuroLeague and the Chinese Basketball Association. He appeared in three games for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2013 season.
Being of Nigerian-American descent, Akognon played for the Nigerian National Basketball team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he averaged 10.6 points per game throughout the tournament.
Rounding out the five greatest players in CSUF history is Bobby Brown. He finished his career as the all-time leader in points, field goals made, three-point field goals made and second in minutes all-time for Fullerton.
His season averages consistently improved throughout his college career, as he concluded in his senior year with an average of 20 points per game. When he joined the professional league, Brown spent 10 seasons playing either overseas or in the NBA.
Brown spent four seasons in the NBA playing for the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Hornets.