The Scorer's Table: An Early Look at Fresno State

By Mick McGrane | Mountain West Senior Writer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In this, the fourth in a series of MW men's basketball blogs detailing developments involving the league's hoops programs since the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, we continue with Fresno State.

Fresno State Bulldogs

Key Returners: G Tyler Johnson, Sr.; G Allen Huddleston, Sr.; G Marvelle Harris, So.; C Robert Upshaw, So.; F Braeden Anderson, So; C/F Tanner Giddings.

Notable Losses: G Kevin Olekaibe; F Jerry Brown; F Kevin Foster.

2013-14 Signees (To Date): F Paul Watson; F Alex Davis; F Soma Edo; G Emmanuel Owootoah.

Sizing Up The Recruits: Watson, a 6-7 forward from Paradise Valley High in Phoenix, averaged 21.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in leading his team to the Division II state title last season. He was named the All-Phoenix Player of the Year by the Arizona Republic. The 6-9 Davis, a native of Houston, spent the past two seasons at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, where he averaged 13.5 points and led the team with an average of 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 2012-13. Edo, a 6-6 wing/forward from Richardson Berkner High in Dallas, is widely heralded for his leaping ability, having been chosen as one of eight high school players to compete in a national slam dunk contest prior to last year's Final Four. He averaged team highs of 15.9 points and 10.5 rebounds last season in leading Richardson Berkner to the Texas Class 5A Region II state title. Owootoah, a 5-10 point guard is a native Canadian who played his senior year at Cordia High School in Hazard, Ky. In addition, the Bulldogs gain the services of sophomore point guard Cezar Guerrero, who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State.

Overview: Of the 15 players on the Bulldogs' roster last season, nearly half (seven) were freshmen, an unenviable position for any team, particularly one playing its first season in the MW. The good news is that Fresno State returns its top two scorers --- Johnson (12.1) and Huddleston (9.7) --- from last year's squad. Johnson also led the team in assists (2.0), field-goal percentage (.461) and three-point field-goal percentage (.402). Huddleston ranked second on the team in assists, while Johnson's average of 4.1 rebounds per game ranked third. Among the freshmen gaining valuable experience in 2012-13 were Harris (7.4 ppg, 24.8 mins), Giddings (2.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and Upshaw, a 7-foot center who averaged 4.1 points and 16.4 minutes. The challenges will be identifying a player to fill the void left by Olekaibe (8.3 ppg), who has indicated he intends to transfer to UNLV, as well as replacing Foster and Brown, the Bulldogs' top two rebounders last season.

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