Tag: Fresno State

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Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson focuses on recovery, return to the court

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On September 3 Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson was involved in a car accident that left him with a displacement of his C-5 through C-6 vertebrae. Luckily for Anderson no damage was done to his spinal cord but the effects of the accident left him unable to swallow or eat for nearly two weeks, resulting in the 6-foot-9 forward losing a substantial amount of weight.

It’s unlikely that Anderson, who averaged 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in ten games last season, will see the floor for Rodney Terry’s Bulldogs this season but the fact of the matter is that the situation could have been far worse. In a story written by Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee, Anderson reflected on the crash while also looking forward to the future.

A future that will undoubtedly include a return to the court in 2014.

“I think the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this is that I’ve been through a lot of things in my life and this is just another thing that I’m going to get through,” said Anderson. “At the point of impact, that’s when I got lucky. The injury, it’s still a severe injury. But God still has a plan for me and he still has more things for me to do and I’m going to make a full recovery.

“There are not a lot of people who come away from this injury being able to move everything and with the doctors saying, ‘Hey, your neck is going to be stronger than 100% a couple of years from now.’ I’m just kind of holding on to that.”

Before the accident Anderson was a player more than a few expected to enjoy a breakout 2013-14 season in the Mountain West. Originally a Kansas signee in 2011, Anderson didn’t take the floor until January 2013 due to his being deemed a non-qualifier and subsequent transfer to Fresno State. With Robert Upshaw being dismissed from the program earlier in the summer, Anderson was expected to play a major role in the Bulldogs’ quest to improve their standing within the Mountain West.

But even with his inability to begin rehab until the holidays, Anderson’s dreams remain on the table. Doctors expect that he’ll be able to return to the court, and Anderson will continue to work towards his goal of attending law school.

“That’s definitely a big goal of mine — to get the most out of being a student-athlete and not taking for granted the opportunity to get your education,” Anderson told Kurada.

There’s a say that in every dark cloud there’s a silver lining, and that certainly seems to be the case for Anderson. He may not be able to help Fresno State on the court this season, but the situation could have been far worse than having to sit out a season.

Fresno State dismisses center Robert Upshaw from program

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When one-time Kansas State commit Robert Upshaw announced his decision to attend Fresno State, the hometown kid was the most highly-regarded signing of Rodney Terry’s brief tenure at the Mountain West school.

But Upshaw’s freshman season was anything but smooth, as the 7-footer dealt with injuries and also ended up on the receiving end of two separate suspensions for a violation of athletic department policy. Even with this being the case, the hope was that Upshaw could progress this summer and help the Bulldogs improve their standing within the Mountain West in 2013-14.

That’s not going to happen however, as it was reported by the Fresno Bee late Wednesday that Upshaw has been dismissed from the program following a third violation of athletic department policy.

The department issued a brief release: “Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh announced Wednesday that Bulldog men’s basketball student-athlete Robert Upshaw has been dismissed from the team for violations of Athletic Department policy. Upshaw was informed of his dismissal Wednesday afternoon. This will be Fresno State’s only comment on the matter.”

Upshaw finished the season with averages of 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest for the Bulldogs, who went 11-19 (5-11 Mountain West) overall. One of Upshaw’s best performances came in the regular season finale against UNLV, as he tallied six points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 61-52 win in Las Vegas.

Then he was suspended before Fresno State’s Mountain West tournament game against Colorado State, ultimately their final games of the season.

Despite Upshaw’s low averages this is a tough blow for a program that entered the offseason hopeful that it could climb up the Mountain West pecking order. The Bulldogs also lost guard Kevin Olekaibe, who transferred to UNLV in order to be closer to his ailing father.

Fresno State does welcome back senior guard Allen Huddleston (9.7 ppg), the team’s leading returning scorer, and Braeden Anderson should be ready to go after playing in just ten games due to academic issues that delayed the start of his college career (Anderson was originally a Kansas signee).

Fresno State added four freshmen (forwards Soma Edo and Paul Watson being two of them), and former Oklahoma State guard Cezar Guerrero is now eligible to play after having to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules.

Evolving as a point guard a continuous process for Sedrick Barefield

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – At the end of the July evaluation period, 2015 point guard Sedrick Barefield had established himself as one of the better players in the class at his position. Possessing the ability to both create his own shot and provide for others, Barefield received attention from some of the nation’s premier basketball programs well before July.

But by no means does Barefield’s status mean that he’s done improving. In fact, July was simply the next step in a process that’s been ongoing for quite some time.

The ultimate goal for Barefield, whose team won the 16U division of the adidas Super 64, is one that many young point guards (and their coaches) have: achieving the level of understanding needed in order to have the proper balance between scoring and creating quality opportunities for his teammates.

“For him, he’s so talented, it’s about getting in and figuring out what’s going to be required of him each game,” Compton Magic Select coach A.J. Diggs told NBC Sports in a phone interview Sunday.

“There are going to be some games where he’s needed to score 25 to 30 points, and then there will be games where’s going to need to have eight points and 15 assists. That’s the next step in his development, to just continue to develop his point guard skills across the board.”

Sedrick has some quality sources to receive wisdom from when it comes to developing as a point guard, with both Diggs (Cal) and father Ray (San Diego State) having played at the Division I level.

“[Their playing experience] helps a lot,” noted Sedrick at last weekend’s adidas Super 64. “I get to hear it every day, so I know what have to do and what I have to work on. Now I just have to carry it over into games.”

For some parents, the need to balance offering their own words of wisdom with allowing the coaches to do what they need to do can be tough (or downright impossible). But that isn’t the case for Ray Barefield, who simply tries to allow the coaches to do their jobs without getting in the way.

“Earlier in his life [my experience] was a major influence, with us doing a lot of skill development daily,” noted Ray. “That’s always been there and I’m still helpful with that, but most of the stuff now is situation analysis.

“He has a great high school coach, and the Compton Magic staff does a great job of helping and mentoring him. As far as the game goes I just try to get in his ear little by little, just to help him with the knowledge of the game.”

With that comes the need to develop one’s leadership, and while many will look to point out the negatives that come with grassroots basketball it can also serve as a valuable training ground when it comes to the intangibles. Regardless of the level of basketball, few teams are consistently successful in a chaotic environment.

And as Barefield continues to progress as a point guard, he’ll become even better at knowing the pulse of his team and accomplishing the things his team needs in order to be successful.

“Being more of a leader and getting my teammates involved,” noted Sedrick when asked about the areas he’s looking to improve upon. “Just being a true point guard. You watch the [best] pros and they’re really good leaders, they run their team and they get everyone involved.”

Among the schools Sedrick mentioned when asked about his recruitment were “Kansas State, Boston College, San Diego State, USC, Fresno State, UConn and Michigan.” Rest assured that those schools, and many more, will be interested observers as Barefield looks to further refine his skills as a point guard.

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