June 28, 2013
By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
FRESNO, Calif. ---The Fresno State men's basketball team has added two new players to its backcourt with the signing of Texas transfer Julien Lewis and incoming freshman Emmanuel Owootoah to an Athletic Aid Agreement and National Letter of Intent, respectively, Bulldogs' head coach Rodney Terry officially announced Friday.
"We are extremely excited to add Julien Lewis and Emmanuel Owootoah to our Fresno State Basketball Family," Terry said. "They are both high character young men who possess an ability to improve our team and program. They each bring valuable skill sets and dimensions to our team. The future of Fresno State Basketball is very bright, and we couldn't be more enthused that Julien and Emmanuel have chosen to become Bulldogs."
Lewis, a 6-3 shooting guard known for his lock-down defense and ability to score, will redshirt the 2013-14 season due to NCAA Division I transfer guidelines, but as a junior in 2014-15, he will have two years of eligibility available. Lewis fills the scholarship vacated by junior Kevin Olekaibe, who left the Bulldogs' program after the spring semester.
"Julien is a talented player who has proven he can compete at the highest level - he can score the basketball in many different ways and has demonstrated that in some of the toughest environments in the country - very similar to the hostile environments we face in the Mountain West Conference," Terry said. "It is rare that you get a chance to add a player to your program who already understands the dedication, commitment, and focus that it takes to be a successful student-athlete; Julien has a great understanding of this. He is a tremendous competitor that will help our team on both ends of the floor."
Lewis was the third-leading scorer for Texas as a sophomore this past season - posting an average of 11.2 points in 26.9 minutes per contest. He led the team in scoring during UT's three postseason contests.
As a freshman in 2011-12, Lewis netted 18 points versus Boston University in his Longhorns' debut, which marked the highest scoring output by a UT freshman in a season opener since Kevin Durant had 20 to open the 2006-07 campaign.
Lewis, a native of Galveston, Texas, finished his two-year Longhorn career with an average of 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists over 65 games played, including 45 starts.
As a prep standout at LaMarque High School in Texas, Lewis was a fourth-team All-American by Parade Magazine and ranked nationally as the No. 57 prospect by Rivals.com and No. 76 in the ESPNU 100 following his senior season. He was a three-time District 24-4A Player of the Year.
Owootoah, a 5-11 point guard and native of Canada, enters the Bulldogs' program as a freshman with four years of eligibility. He prepped at Cordia High School in Kentucky, where he averaged 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals per game.
Earlier this month, Owootoah earned an invite to the 2013 Canadian Junior Men's National Team Training Camp.
"Emmanuel brings another dimension to our team," Terry said. "His speed, ball handling, and playmaking ability will help us in many ways. He can really pass the ball and makes other players around him better. He is a confident and fearless young man who is a winner. We look for Emmanuel to make great strides and are excited to coach him."
Lewis and Owootoah join Alex Davis, Karachi (Soma) Edo and Paul Watson as members of Terry's 2013-14 recruiting class. The Bulldogs also gain the services of redshirt sophomore point guard Cezar Guerrero, who played his freshman season at Oklahoma State and sat out last season as a D-I transfer.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- The Official Home of the Fresno State Sports is 940 ESPN - the flagship radio station for Bulldog Basketball.
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