Armed with one of the deeper backcourt rotations in the Mountain West, led by preseason Player of the Year Marvelle Harris, Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry has enough options to provide flexibility within his lineups. That includes being able to go “small” at times, with a front court led by junior Karachi Edo being entrusted with the task of defending the paint and controlling the boards.
Fresno State’s available front court options have done well enough in the preseason to allow Terry to take the step of redshirting freshman forward Nate Grimes, with the decision being announced just before the Bulldogs’ 77-55 exhibition victory over Dominican College Friday night.
The 6-foot-8 Grimes, who spent his final season of high school basketball at Quality Education Academy in North Carolina, received numerous offers from Mountain West and Pac-12 programs before deciding to commit to Fresno State. He’ll be able to benefit from competing with Edo, sophomore Terrell Carter II and junior college transfers Torren Jones and Cullen Russo in practices this season, with an eye towards being a contributor in 2016-17.
Fresno State, picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West preseason media poll, returns their top five scorers from last season.
Nate Grimes, a 6-foot-8 small forward, became the first commitment in Fresno State’s 2015 recruiting class.
“I wanna thank all the schools and coaches that have recruited me it’s been an amazing ride I am truly blessed to have opportunities like this. It’s time to move on to bigger and better things this will lead me one step closer to my dreams. … I would like to say I’m committing to Fresno State to play for Coach Rodney Terry,” Grimes wrote as a caption in an Instagram post on Sunday afternoon.
The Las Vegas native is currently attending Quality Education in North Carolina. He is a three-star prospect, considered the No. 116 overall recruit in the Class of 2015 by Rivals. On Sept. 20, he announced his final seven schools as the Bulldogs beat out Boise State, Iowa, San Francisco, Utah State, Washington State and Wichita State.
After a 21-win season, Fresno State rewarded Terry with a three-year extension this spring. The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them in the Mountain West Conference this upcoming season, especially with a roster that includes seven freshmen and sophomores (one redshirt) and only one senior. But Terry will have a more experienced team by the time Grimes arrives on campus in the fall of 2015.
In three years, three-star forward Nate Grimes has gone from a player whose first experience of organized basketball didn’t come until his freshman year of high school to a respected prospect who has reeled in a number of offers during his junior season and the summer months that followed. At Desert Pines HS in Las Vegas he also worked hard to improve academically, thus ensuring himself of an opportunity to play Division I college basketball in 2015.
Saturday evening Grimes took to Twitter to reveal the list of schools he focusing on, with seven making the cut. The seven schools (in case you can’t see the embedded tweet below) are Iowa, Fresno State, Utah State, San Francisco, Boise State, Wichita State and Washington State.
Last season the 6-foot-7 Grimes posted averages of 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest, and his athleticism and activity in the paint are two attributes that have stood out in the eyes of some scouts. This season Grimes will play at Quality Education Academy in North Carolina, and four of the seven programs on his list have either visited or are scheduled to visit with Grimes (or his parents in Las Vegas) in September or early October.