Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The best laid plans of mice and men

The Fresno State basketball season started out so promising. Redshirt transfers Bryan Harvey and Rekalin Sims were going to provide backcourt and frontcourt scoring power. Hector Hernandez and Eddie Miller were to expand their games. Dwight O'Neill would be providing toughness and help at both ends of the floor. Plus, star point Kevin Bell was in his final go-around in running the show.

Only Bell came through.

Harvey played half the season and then ran aground on the shoals of academics. Sims encountered legal trouble and a period of academic laziness and that combination resulted in his removal from the team (even though the legal charge was later dropped).

Hernandez and Miller had their moments but neither displayed a more fully-rounded skills set.

O'Neill broke his hand early on and has missed most of the season.

Here's a bit on Fresno State's laets loss, with a telling comment from Coach Steve Cleveland:

Carroll, Aggies hand men's hoops another loss
Fresno State can't surprise, even with Bell's career night.
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

LOGAN, Utah - During the final seconds of another setback, Fresno State had to wait for Jaycee Carroll to exit the court at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, perhaps the final home appearance for Utah State's All-America guard.

The sellout crowd of 10,270 fans roared as Carroll jogged to the sideline, convinced that his Senior Night heroics had sealed a season perfection in Logan. The Aggies were about to end their 2007-08 campaign undefeated at home, and this year, neither Kevin Bell nor his Bulldogs could ruin the celebration.

Utah State won 79-66 on Monday night, avenging last season's home finale defeat to Fresno State.

"It was a good way to finish," said Carroll, who tied a season high with 33 points.

Bell did all he could to ruin the moment, never leaving the court despite a sore right ankle. He even scored a career-high 31 points, twisting his body near the rim for awkward yet effective scoring angles and converting on the perimeter with his unorthodox release.

"I'm darn glad Kevin Bell is a senior," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said,. "I don't want to see him anymore in my life, in my nightmares, nothing."

Still, Fresno State dropped to a new descent.

The Bulldogs are now 13-17 overall and 5-10 in the Western Athletic Conference. Their first losing regular season record in four years is already clinched. Even their No. 6 seed in next week's WAC Tournament is in jeopardy: The Bulldogs will drop one seed if they lose Saturday at home against Nevada in their home finale and Idaho upsets Utah State at home.

Most of Fresno State's problems are old problems. The kind that after nearly a season of disappointments, have proved to not be fixable - not this season anyway. The Bulldogs squad that entered last summer with perhaps too much offense is missing three of those players and look to be at least two standouts away from winning another conference game.

"We just don't have all of the pieces right now," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said...

Go here for the remainder.

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