Oct. 25, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - Sports Illustrated named Fresno State sophomore Paul George as the most entertaining player in the West region and the eighth most entertaining player in all of college men's basketball in their list of the "Top 16 Most Entertaining Players in College Basketball."
"Paul is a special player who plays the game the right way," head coach Steve Cleveland said of one of his two preseason All-WAC selections. "He brings an energy to the floor that helps our team compete down the stretch. Our expectation is to win a WAC championship and each guy on our team has to continue to improve for us to make a run at the title."
In being named to the list, SI.com's Luke Winn credited George's dunking ability and aggressive mindset as changing the pace of the game.
"His posterizing of St. Mary's guard Mickey McConnell was one of last season's top-five dunks -- as was his slam over two Sacramento State players in the previous game," Winn said. "Even the YouTube coverage of George's practice dunks -- of which there are a few -- are extremely entertaining."
George (Palmdale, Calif.) is the only Western Athletic Conference player on the list of 16 and ranked one spot ahead of the lone Pacific-10 player, Isaiah Thomas of Washington.
In the offseason, George and the Bulldogs took a renewed focus on being a suffocating defensive team that will compete until the final whistle.
"We take pride in our defense and all the guys are working hard to be ready for the season," George said. "This summer, everyone was in the gym getting better. With the added depth on the roster, we know that we have to be ready to compete at the highest level every moment we are on the floor."
Last November, George was introduced to the nation in high-flying style when he slashed hard to the basket and slammed down an emphatic dunk to silence the home crowd in Moraga during ESPN's College Hoops Tip Off Special that beat a pair of Lebron James' highlights and other professional performances for ESPN's Sportscenter's No. 1 "Play of the Day for Nov. 18, 2009.
He delivered one of the most impressive freshman performances in Bulldog history as one of the top 15 freshmen scorers in the NCAA last season. During his freshman campaign, George averaged 14.3 points, a team-high 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a team-high 1.7 steals per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. He recorded the third-best season 3-point field goal percentage (63-141, 44.6%) in Bulldog history and led the team with six double-doubles. Also, the underclassman standout led the conference in minutes played and finished with the fifth-most minutes in the nation.
Sports Illustrated's Top 16 Most Entertaining Players in College Basketball
1. Greivis Vasquez - Maryland
2. Scottie Reynolds - Villanova
3. Willie Warren - Oklahoma
4. Chris Wright - Dayton
5. Luke Harangody - Notre Dame
6. John Wall - Kentucky
7. Talor Battle - Penn State
8. Paul George - Fresno State
9. Isaiah Thomas - Washington
10. James Eayers - Wisconsin-Milwaukee
11. Jarvis Varnado - Mississippi State
12. Trevor Booker - Clemson
13. Osiris Eldridge - Illinois State
14. Devan Downey - South Carolina
15. Larry Sanders - VCU
16. Kalin Lucas - Michigan State
"We Are Your Team" - Season tickets in the lower bowl are available by calling the Bulldog Foundation at (559) 244-5600 or by visiting www.bulldogfoundation.org. Upper Bowl season tickets can be purchased for $189 at www.gobulldogs.com, by calling (559) 278-DOGS or by visiting the Bulldog Ticket Office south of Bulldog Stadium. All season tickets include a general admission ticket to Fresno State's Dec. 1 game at Selland Arena. All other home games are played at the Save Mart Center.
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|