Steve Cleveland will make his first return to Provo on Friday night when the Bulldogs start the 2010-11 regular season at No. 24 Brigham Young University.
Greg Smith and the Bulldogs will tip off the 2010-11
Nov. 8, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. -
The stage is set for a special evening in Provo, Utah, when Steve Cleveland returns to coach his first game in the 22,700-seat Marriott Center as the coach of a visiting team on Friday night during Fresno State's marquee season opener against No. 24 Brigham Young University.
Cleveland led the Cougar program for eight seasons (1997-2005) and established BYU as a consistent postseason contender.
The game starts at 6 p.m. Pacific and can be heard live on KMJ Radio (580 AM) with Paul Loeffler and Steve Gonzalez calling the action.
A Look Ahead...
Home Opener: Fresno State vs. Vanguard (Nov. 17: 8 p.m.)
Rare Road Start for Dogs
This will be the 26th time in the 88 years of Bulldog Basketball that the Dogs begin with a road game. This also marks the first time Fresno State is opening on the road since Cleveland's first game when the Bulldogs beat Cal Poly 85-77 in 2005. The Dogs are 62-23 in season openers, 45-38 in road openers and 13-12 in road games to start a season.
About the No. 24 BYU Cougars
Brigham Young University enters the 2010-11 season ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press preseason poll and No. 27 in the USA Today Coaches poll after a second round appearance in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Cougars are led by Preseason First-Team All-American Jimmer Fredette. Head coach Dave Rose, who took over for Cleveland in 2005, is beginning his sixth season. Brian Santiago, a former Bulldog men's basketball standout player, now works as the Senior Associate Athletics Director at Brigham Young University.
Against the No. 24 BYU Cougars
Fresno State trails the series with BYU, 12-3. After a 10-year hiatus, the Dogs and Cougars met last season on Dec. 12, 2009 in Cleveland's first date against his former team with BYU winning, 72-67. Fresno State and BYU have split the past two non-vacated games.
New Faces Debut, Dogs Ground Sunbirds 71-50 in Lone Exhibition
In the Bulldogs' only exhibition game this season, Fresno State grounded the NAIA's Fresno Pacific Sunbirds 71-50 on Nov. 6. The win marked the seventh straight season the Dogs downed the Sunbirds. Greg Smith (Fresno, Calif.) scored a game-high 16 points on 63 percent shooting from the field. Transfers Jonathan Wills, Tim Steed and Bennie Rhodes as well as freshmen Kevin Olekaibe, Tyler Johnson and Bracken Funk made their exhibition debuts.
Fresno State's Lasting Success One of West Coast's Best
Over the 32-year period that began with the 1978-79 season and runs through 2009-10, the numbers show that Fresno State is one of the top Division I basketball programs on the West Coast. Fresno State ranks fourth among the 33 Division 1 programs in wins (573) and winning percentage (58.3%), behind only UCLA, Gonzaga and Stanford.
Fresno State Picked to Finish 4th/5th, Smith Named All-WAC
With a fresh start and high expectations, the Fresno State men's basketball team was picked to finish fourth and fifth in the annual Western Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, respectively. Sophomore center Greg Smith, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year, was named first-team Preseason All-WAC by the conference coaches and Preseason All-WAC by the media and Blue Ribbon Magazine after a breakout inaugural season.
Golubovic Named to NABC Honors Court Nedeljko Golubovic, a native of Pjevlja, Serbia, received his latest academic accolade by earning his way into the 2009-10 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. Golubovic was one of two Western Athletic Conference honorees, along with Louisiana Tech's Shawn Oliverson. Golubovic, the team's captain, is also a two-time CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honoree and four-time member of the university's President List.
Bulldogs Ready for Road Slate, Home Opener Set for Nov. 17
With 16 home games, a solid foundation and restocked talent, head coach Steve Cleveland announced the 2010-11 Fresno State men's basketball schedule that features a competitive non-conference slate to prepare for a run at the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Championship. The road non-conference schedule includes three Mountain West schools, three California programs and two teams that made last year's NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will open the 2010-11 home slate on Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. against Vanguard.
Cleveland Clipped Colson for 6th All-Time in Bulldog Wins
The tireless work of Steve Cleveland, his staff and student-athletes has earned academic accolades, yet the progress on the floor is also reshaping the program. Cleveland passed Gary Colson for 6th place on the all-time wins list by Bulldog head men's basketball coaches for 77 career Fresno State victories and ended the season sporting 78 wins over five seasons.
Dogs Defend Home Floor, Second-Most Save Mart Center Wins
Fresno State recorded their most home victories since the 2006-07 season with 12 wins in the Save Mart Center to tie the second-most in the building's history. In Steve Cleveland's first two seasons at the helm, the Dogs went 15-3 (2006-07) and 12-2 (2005-06) at home. Cleveland is now 149-50 (75%) in his 13-year career and the Bulldogs are 77-38 (67%) since the pristine 15,596-seat Save Mart Center opened on Oct. 27, 2003.
Cleveland Leads Fresno State's Charge Back
Last season, Steve Cleveland led the largest improvement by an WAC schools in seven years as the Bulldogs earned the fifth seed in the conference tournament, four spots higher than the 2009 Tournament. Fresno State gained valuable road experience, finished a season sweep of Hawai'i and secured dominating home wins over Nevada and NMSU in WAC action.
Bulldogs Rank Third in State, Fourth on West Coast in Attendance
The Fresno State men's basketball team ranked third in average attendance among the 23 Division 1 programs in the state of California and fourth among the 33 Division I programs along the West Coast (located in the states of California, Oregon and Washington) during the 2009-10 season. The Fresno State men's basketball team drew 132,045 total fans to the Save Mart Center during the 2009-10 season, the second highest mark of any Division 1 school in the state of California and Western Athletic Conference.
BUILT TO LAST: CLEVELAND'S JOURNEY Cleveland Enters 14th Season as a Division 1 Head Coach
In now his 14th season at the helm of a Division I basketball programs, Steve Cleveland has embodied the highest character, integrity and unwavering commitment to setting the standard of excellece on the basketball hardwood and in the classroom.
During his first five seasons at Fresno State... Cleveland directed the nation's largest Academic Progress Rate (APR) improvement, lifted the Dogs to a 928 score for the 2008-09 academic year and guided the graduation of a program-record number of student-athletes (9) for a 12-month period from 2008 to 2009. Two Bulldogs (Paul George and Dominic McGuire) were picked in the NBA Draft. George became the program's top selection when the Indiana Pacers used the No. 10 overall pick in this past June's draft on the entertaining and talented small forward from Palmdale, Calif. Washington drafted McGuire in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft. Nedeljko Golubovic, a psychology major, was recognized twice as a prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree for his classroom and athletic performance. During the 2006-07 season, the Bulldogs won their first seven games, received votes in the national polls, played in the NIT and finished with a 22-10 record. Fresno State improved to 77-38 all-time in the Save Mart Center behind a 59-24 clip over Cleveland's first five seasons.
George Drafted No. 10 Overall in 2010 NBA Draft by Indiana Pacers
Former Bulldog Paul George, who was tabbed by Sports Illustrated as the "West's Most Entertaing Player in College Basketball," became the top overall pick in program history when the NBA legend Larry Bird drafted George No. 10 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. As a sophomore, George delivered the program's best season at the free throw line (120-132, 90.9%), ranked as one of the top 20 sophomore NCAA scorers, and averaged 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting 42.4 percent (154-363) from the field and 35.3 percent (122-308) on 3-point attempts.
"We Are Your Team!" --- Fresno State opens the 2010-11 season on the road at No. 24 BYU before hosting Vanguard in the Dogs' home opener on Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. Season tickets are available through The Bulldog Foundation at www.bulldogfoundation.org.