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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 28th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Fresno State Bulldogs

 

Overall Rank: #74

Conference Rank: #4 WAC

 

2005-06: 15-13, 8-8, 6th

2005-06 postseason: none

 

It is an odd situation at Fresno State.  Five starters are returning, but the biggest issue will be team cohesion.  That’s what happens when a couple newcomers are expected to come in and start right away.  Most of the returning starters will see a drastic decrease in playing time and their ability to sacrifice personal glory for wins will go a long way in deciding the success of the Bulldogs.

 

Who’s Out: The backcourt lost some depth with the departures of Donovan Morris and walk-on Jeff Jackson.  Morris, who started nine contests, averaged 7.5 points last season.

 

Who’s In: The main additions are in the paint for Fresno State.  Dominic McGuire, a transfer from California, should step right into the power forward spot.  As a sophomore at Cal two years ago, the 6-8 San Diego product averaged 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 23 starts.  Leon Powe won’t be next to him, but fellow newcomer Shawn Taylor isn’t too shabby.  Taylor, who played at Alabama as a freshman before heading to Chipola College in Florida, won’t be a big scorer, but can get the job done on the glass and the defensive end.  At 6-11, Taylor provides an option that Coach Steve Cleveland didn’t have last year.  Alex Blair spent the last two seasons on the juco circuit and will bring his 6-8, 220 pound frame to Fresno for the 2006-2007 campaign.  Blair is strong and tough and will compete for minutes off of the bench.  Shooting guard Eddie Miller is a tremendous long range shooter and has the experience to contribute right away.  Minutes on the wings will be tough to come by, but Miller will be in the mix.

 

Who to Watch: Point guard Kevin Bell is the leader on the floor.  As a sophomore last year the 5-10 Los Angeles native averaged 7.6 points and 5.9 assists.  He’s not a great shooter, but he won’t be asked to do much scoring this year.  Ja’Vance Coleman and Dwight O’Neil are returning starters in the backcourt, but one, likely O’Neil, will be relegated to the bench.  Quinton Hosley spent last season at the four spot, but should be able to move to his more natural three spot for his senior campaign.  The teams leader, Hosley led the squad with 18.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals. 

 

Final Projection: The problem last year was in the paint.  With McGuire and Taylor heading in, the problems are all but forgotten.  Hector Hernandez started all 28 games last season and is expected to fill in off the bench this season.  Hernandez was effective last year, averaging 8.9 points, 5.5 boards and 1.1 blocks and should be a great asset off of the bench.  Renato Cesar and James Tchana will be moved further down the depth chart, but have some experience and can step in if injuries or foul trouble plague any of the big guys.  If things go well, this team is talented enough to make the NCAAs.  It will depend on the play of the incoming players and how well the returning players adapt to actually having some depth on the team.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Kevin Bell, Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game

Ja’Vance Coleman, Senior, Guard, 17.5 points per game

Quinton Hosley, Sophomore, Guard, 18.6 points per game

Dominic McGuire, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Shawn Taylor, Junior, Center, DNP last season

75 Western Kentucky » Complete List » 73 Miami (OH)

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