The Fresno State men’s basketball team will be returning six players who were a part of the active roster – and junior guard Kevin Olekaibe will not be one of them.
Olekaibe, who leaves Fresno State ranked 20th in school history for most points scored, will be transferring to another school for his senior season.
The school Olekaibe will be transferring to has not been disclosed.
“First of all, I want to thank the fans,” Olekaibe said in a statement through the athletic department.
“Since I’ve been here everyone has given me support. This decision was a hard one, but I’ve got the support of my coaches and teammates as I do what I have to in order to expand my game – playing with the ball more, developing my skills as a point guard, distributing the ball and not just being one-dimensional.
“One of the main reasons that I had to make this tough decision is so that I can be closer to home and be with my family more. I’ve appreciated the time that I have spent in Fresno. It has been a good three years, and I’m totally grateful for the experiences that I have had.”
Olekaibe struggled this season to find the offensive rhythm he had as a sophomore – the last season Fresno State competed in the Western Athletic Conference.
An elbow injury kept him out of preseason practice, and Olekaibe was not able to reproduce the numbers he did during his sophomore breakout season – when he averaged 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists per game and played a WAC-high 36.5 minutes per game.
Those numbers dipped this season in the more competitive Mountain West Conference.
Olekaibe averaged 25.6 minutes per game last season and averaged 8.3 points per game this season off 34.7 percent field goal shooting — all career-lows.
Olekaibe started 24 of 30 games in a season of shuffled lineups.
He finished his Bulldog career with 1,169 points, averaging 12.7 points per game and finished fourth on the team in scoring after leading the Fresno State offense his freshman and sophomore years.
Olekaibe, a Las Vegas native, is not the only Bulldog to transfer schools this season.
Guard Aaron Anderson – who started in 12 games last season – is also transferring to be closer to family. Anderson is transferring to Central Oklahoma in his hometown of Edmund.
Fresno State is returning six players who were in the starting lineup at one point during the 2012-13 season.
Fresno State coach Rodney Terry, who enters his third season as the Bulldogs’ head coach, has signed three players – Alex Davis, Soma Edo and Paul Watson – to National Letters of Intent for next season.
“My staff and I have enjoyed coaching Kevin Olekaibe over the past two seasons,” Terry said in a statement.
“We wish him nothing but success in pursing both academic and athletic goals he has set for himself during his senior year. Kevin is a young man with great character, and we support him and his family moving forward.”
The Bulldogs finished last season 11-19 overall and 5-11 in the Mountain West and seventh in conference standings.
Fresno State finished the season with a 67-61 first-round loss in the Mountain West Basketball Championships to Colorado State, which was seeded second in the tournament.