UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Developing Beacons Look to Future

A lot of people might want to forget the 2007-2008 men’s basketball season, a tough ride filled with a lot of disappointment and a 2-24 final record. However, Coach Charlie Titus wants to remember this season as a year in which his young players gained confidence for the future.

“I want to see how what happened this year will affect our guys,” Titus said of his returning players. “I want to see how they evolve.”

Evolution is a better term than rebuilding, especially because rebuilding has a connotation of long-term struggling. But with all but two players returning next year, there is no need to rebuild. The foundation of the team is strong in its youth, as starters Ernst Jean, A.J. Titus and Terrell Maddox will return.

“One of my favorite things about this season was watching the young guys develop,” Coach Titus said. “Ernst came into his own and became a better game contributor, and Gaelen McGrail showed a lot of confidence. Also, Aaron Jones played out of position, but was able to the see the game differently.”

Jean showed flashes of dominance, including in the LEC opening round playoff game when he scored 29 points on nationally-ranked UMass Dartmouth. Jones was also a key for the Beacons when A.J. Titus went down with a broken foot early in the season, switching from shooting guard to the point position to benefit the team.

Coach Titus will be looking to bolster his roster with talented recruits that will not just offset the loss of star seniors Amigo Paniagua and Mark Doran, but return the Beacons to the glory of only two years ago when they captured the LEC title. Titus isn’t looking for just anybody who can score and defend, however.

“We’re looking to recruit captains of high school teams,” Coach Titus said. “We need a foundation of leadership in the program.” In addition to the younger Titus, Maddox, and McGrail, the coach will be counting on the new players to step in and be a positive voice in the locker room and on the court.

Coach Titus indicated that two forwards were admitted in the spring semester to the school that would be playing their first seasons as Beacons in 2008-2009. Also, a guard has been admitted that could, in Titus’ opinion, be an all-conference player next year. Titus is also not opposed to bringing in players with collegiate experience, as he has been recruiting several junior college players that can help immediately.

The Beacons will return a title-winning point guard (A.J. Titus) along with a rising frontcourt star (Jean) and a whole cast of hungry veterans looking to avenge the 07-08 season. Add that foundation to a new group of talented players with leadership potential, and the Beacons should evolve into a squad that will play above the rim and the competition next season.