By Stephen Trembley & Stephanie Juncker
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team met with members of the media on Friday morning to discuss its preseason practice progress and the upcoming season.
In his second season leading the Bulldogs, head coach Rodney Terry is excited for Fresno State's first season in the Mountain West.
"We have a really good league this year and a lot of teams that have a lot of experience returning from having successful campaigns a year ago," Terry said. "We have two teams in the top twenty-five right now and two teams on the cuffs of being in the top twenty-five. There were four teams that had post-season runs last year, which have a number of guys returning. Aside from that, you get to the middle of the pack and down out league, there isn't a night off. So every night you're going to have to bring it."
To get ready to bring it at the necessary level, the team has taken the mentality to focus on getting better every day.
|Preseason Press Conference|
|Head Coach Rodney Terry
|Tyler Johnson & Garrett Johnson
|Allen Huddleston & Kevin Olekaibe
|Kevin Foster & Jerry Brown
|Tanner Giddings & Marvelle Harris
"For us you take it game to game, you take it day to day and continue to try and improve," Terry said. "We can control our effort, how hard we play, how hard we compete, and our preparation. Every night we are going to try out best to bring it no matter who we are playing. I think we will be very competitive, and we are going to play to win."
The team returns six players, including three starters from last year's team, as well as adding nine newcomers. One of those returning starters, junior forward Jerry Brown talked about the team's growth on the floor.
"We have a lot of younger guys and I've seen a lot of guys come and go from this program," Brown said. "I am really excited about the guys we have now on the court. My job is to be a leader, focus on getting better myself and focus on the team getting better."
Senior Kevin Foster noted how he is in much better shape than at this point a year ago and that the Bulldogs' schedule, which features 12 of its 29 regular season games against teams that played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, has the squad working even harder.
"I really do feel better prepared and in better shape than last year around this time," Foster said. "We worked hard last year, but we are working even harder now. We have younger guys and we know that if we continue to work hard and bring them up to speed with us, we will have a great season and team."
Two of Fresno State's newcomers - Tanner Giddings and Marvelle Harris - also participated in the preseason press conference, which lasted for roughly an hour, and talked about their transition into the Bulldog family.
"The older guys try to talk with us and make everything a lot easier for us, just because we are coming in and new," Giddings said. "The coaches always emphasize just to play as hard as you can and just be physical and that's also what the older guys taught us to do, too. I feel like we're meshing pretty well, and I think we will have a lot to show on the court as being a team."
"They welcomed us in and they made us feel like at home," Harris agreed. "We just know we have to play hard and keep up with them if we want to make the team better. Whatever they can do to help us, they're doing it."
Junior Kevin Olekaibe, who has been limited in practice due to an injury, has been one of those veteran voices that have helped ease the transition.
"One thing I'm excited about is our chemistry," Olekaibe said. "We have people who talk this year. Everybody is talking. I think that all of us blend together. We just have to bring some people up to speed and as older players, we have to help out the young guys and tell them what's coming. They're coming in as freshman into a good conference. We have to all challenge each other in practice and make people better."
That vocal leadership is something that redshirt junior point guard Allen Huddleston, who had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer restrictions, has taken as a priority.
"I'm learning to be more vocal, I'm not as vocal as I should be, according to Coach Terry," Huddleston said. "But I'm learning and trying to pick that up and really add that to my game because it helps out the other guys. It can put them in the right spots by telling them where they need to be and help on defense."
The first opportunity for fans to catch the 'Dogs in action will be on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the annual Red & White Hoops Night in the Save Mart Center at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public for free and will be a fun filled evening with inter-squad scrimmages and shooting contests by both the men's and women's teams.
After starting the regular season with road games at Texas on Nov. 9 and UC Riverside on Nov. 14, Fresno State hosts Pacific on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. PT. for the Bulldogs' home opener. The complete home schedule includes 14 regular season games and an exhibition contest on Nov. 2 versus Fresno Pacific.
Fans can secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets for as little as $149 (which is less than $10 per game) by contacting the Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160. To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit www.bulldogfoundation.org.
Upcoming Key Dates/Events
Monday, Oct. 22 by 3 p.m. PT - RSVPs due for Tip Off Dinner (Call Donna Caldwell at 559-259-1767)
Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. PT - Red & White Hoops Night (Save Mart Center)
Sunday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. PT - Tip Off Dinner (Pardini's)
Monday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. PT - Non-Conference Single Game Tickets On Sale (SMC Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com)
Thursday, Nov. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT - Time Out Club Lunch (Buffalo Wild Wings)
Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. PT - Exhibition vs. Fresno Pacific (Save Mart Center)
Friday, Nov. 9 at TBA - Season Opener at Texas (Austin, Texas/ESPN Longhorn Network)
Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. PT - Home Opener vs. Pacific (Save Mart Center)
Jillian Bertolucci, Karissa Ferrari, Jared Jones, Kasandra Martinson and Elly Walker also contributed to this report.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" - Join Fresno State legends and Super Bowl champions Trent Dilfer and David Carr in becoming a part of Fresno State forever by uploading your picture for free to the Bulldog Stadium Fan Mosaic. To upload your picture, please visit: fanmosaics.com/fresnostate.
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