Kevin Olekaibe looked like he had a shot to be an all-Mountain West first-teamer after averaging 17.8 points as a sophomore in Fresno State’s final season in the WAC.
But thanks to an offseason arm injury, Olekaibe stuggled throughout his junior season. In his first year as a player in the MWC, Olekaibe finished averaging just 8.3 points, the lowest of his career.
And now, the junior has decided to transfer out of Rodney Terry’s program and will use his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
“First of all, I want to thank the fans,” Olekaibe said in a release. “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.”
Fresno State also graduates four seniors and loses Alan Anderson to transfer, but they have a good recruiting class coming in, which is headlined by Oklahoma State transfer Cezar Guerrero, and return a front line that includes Robert Upshaw, a former top 100 recruit, and Braeden Anderson, a former Kansas signee.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)