The Fresno State men’s basketball team, after a 15-year drought, advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016. Bulldogs’ head coach Rodney Terry is looking to return to the “big dance.”
Terry spoke with the media on Thursday and touched on where the team will look for leadership now that Marvelle Harris, Cezar Guerrero and Julien Lewis are gone. Terry pointed to seniors Paul Watson, Karachi Edo and Cullen Russo as candidates.
“That’s going to be measured day-to-day,” Terry said. “Being consistent every day and showing those types of characteristics that it takes to be a leader will identify those.”
Terry praised Watson, Edo and Russo for their approach to getting better throughout the spring and summer. Terry said he believes that commitment will carry into the fall and will reflect on the court.
Terry said Edo can take the next step in his development if he continues to work on his dribbling and passing skills. He said Edo has come a long way since his freshman year.
Terry likes what he has seen of Watson’s approach and attitude thus far and said his demeanor is the best it’s ever been. Terry added that a sense of urgency will serve Watson well in his senior year and will allow him to showcase his talent at a higher level.
Russo can take his game to another level, Terry said. Russo made a lot of strides in the spring and summer and has committed to being consistent on a daily basis, Terry said.
Five-star recruit William McDowell-White is expected to contribute to the Bulldogs, but will not join the team until the beginning of the spring semester. McDowell-White will need to pass many courses in order to become eligible to attend the university and ultimately play for Fresno State.
“It was a process of obviously gathering all his information, getting it sent to where we needed to get it sent to. Then just trying to see where it all kind of fell out in terms of what he still needed,” Terry said. “He’s got a few courses that he’s got to overcome right now. We fully anticipate him being here with us this season.”
Terry preaches versatility. He said the Bulldogs have never been a point guard-centric team. He identified the team as a rebound-and-go team with multiple ball-handlers initiating the offense.
The Bulldogs open the season at home Nov. 11 against University of Texas, San Antonio and begin Mountain West conference play at New Mexico on Dec. 28.