March 1, 2013
By Amy Jennings & @StephenTrembley
By Amy Jennings & @StephenTrembley
FRESNO, Calif. --- To the four seniors on the Fresno State men's basketball team, Saturday will mark the last time they play a collegiate game at the Save Mart Center, but the memories they made on that court will last forever.
Seniors Jerry Brown, Brad Ely, Kevin Foster and Garrett Johnson are soaking in each moment as they prepare for their last few games as Bulldogs. Each student-athlete had the opportunity to play with not only one another, but previous teammates throughout the seasons and each left a lasting impact.
"I met a lot of people here in Fresno as far as basketball goes," Johnson said. "I had a chance to play with some pros such as Paul George and Greg Smith. I've learned a lot from them and the work ethic that you have to have to get to that level that they got to."
Not only do the 'Dogs receive motivation from their teammates, but also from their loyal Red Wave fans, family members, and many other supporters, who helped keep their Bulldog spirit strong.
"The Red Wave and the Bulldog Foundation, they've been very supportive with me in my four years and I definitely thank them for that," Johnson said.
On and off the court, the Red Wave continues to support the team. From the moment these seniors became a Bulldog, whether it was a win or loss, the Red Wave has always been there.
"The Red Wave has been so inspirational to me," Brown said. "Even with the challenges that we have faced, they always stay supportive and never quit on us. I think that shows us even as a team, when things aren't going right, you can't quit because other people haven't quit on us."
Through each of these senior's journeys, nothing has meant more to them than putting on the Bulldog jersey.
Brad Ely, a 2011-2012 season walk-on, is a Visalia native who grew up around Bulldog basketball. Representing not only the school, but athletics as well was always a dream of his.
"Coming from Visalia, I grew up watching Fresno State sports a lot, so when I put on the Fresno jersey every time it's exciting, it means a lot," Ely said. "It is an opportunity that was given to me and I'm trying to take full advantage of it."
Brown and Johnson joined the Bulldogs in 2009-2010. Putting on the Bulldog jersey gave the duo high hopes for a future career in basketball. Now, as graduating seniors, both Brown and Johnson will be pursuing their dream of playing professionally.
"I want to play basketball as long as I can," Brown said. "I know I'm not going to play forever, if I could, I would."
Along with Brown and Johnson, Foster also seeks to play basketball beyond college. Although each of these seniors will go their way after graduation to pursue their dreams, they will always remember the lessons they learned while at Fresno State.
"Never take a day for granted as it can be taken away from you just like that," Foster reflected.
Regardless of when these seniors started their basketball career at Fresno State, they will all be graduating together not only as teammates, but as friends. These players shared a bond with one another that they will forever carry with them.
As these graduating seniors move on to the next chapter in their lives, each will always remember how it felt to be a Bulldog. Every coach, every team member, and every fan that has supported them throughout their journey at Fresno State, on and off the court, has left an imprint in their heart.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Join us for the Bulldogs' Senior Night when Fresno State hosts Air Force on March 2. Tickets can be purchased starting at special price of $5 for members of the military, $17 for adults and $9 for youth through www.gobulldogs.com or at the Save Mart Center Box Office.
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