After winning 21 games and reaching the championship series of the CBI, the Fresno State Bulldogs are optimistic as the 2014-15 season begins and rightfully so. Rodney Terry welcomes back three of the top four scorers from that team, led by junior guard Marvelle Harris, with sophomore Paul Watson poised to take a step forward after earning Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.
Those two, along with guard Cezar Guerrero, will have some help in the form of redshirt junior guard Julien Lewis. The 6-foot-3 Lewis sat out all of last season after transferring in from Texas, where he averaged 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 2012-13. With the Bulldogs having to account for the departure of guards Tyler Johnson (15.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg) and Allen Huddleston (8.8, 2.1), Lewis is expected to fit right into the rotation as Fresno State looks to move up the Mountain West standings.
Terry said the following about Lewis in an article written by Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee:
“He’s a good player,” coach Rodney Terry said. “We knew when we got Juice that Juice was a high-level player. A year ago in practices, guys would look around and they knew why that guy was at the level that he was at. I’d stack him up with any of the guys in the league, to be honest with you.
“Julien is a high-level player. Juice was one of the top players coming out of the state of Texas in his senior year, a Top 100 player in the country. Guys knew last year when he was on the scout team that if they could guard him, they could guard anybody in our league. He’s a good player.”
Fresno State will have depth on the perimeter this season, with Guerrero, Harris and Watson (who will spend the majority of his time at the three after having to play the four for most of 2013-14) back to lead the way. And the Bulldogs have plenty of options beyond those three, with a surplus of perimeter players that includes Lewis, freshman Isaiah Bailey and sophomore Emmanuel Owootoah.
The top eight spots in the Mountain West won’t lack for suspense, with many pegging San Diego State as the early favorite to win the regular season title. Fresno State is among that group, and if Lewis can be a productive option for the Bulldogs a more prestigious postseason event could be within their grasp come March.