Rank: #4 WAC
15-13, 8-8, 6th
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Coleman, Senior, Guard, 17.5 points per game
Sophomore, Guard, 18.6 points per game
Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Junior, Center, DNP last season