Fresno State men's basketball team discusses recruiting and schedule changes during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State's men's basketball team will look completely different next season.

With a roster composed of mainly freshman and sophomores, Justin Hutson and his staff had to replace five Bulldogs who decided to part ways and transfer from the program.

Once the season ended, Fresno State's coaching staff began making phone calls, reaching out to recruits to rebuild their roster.

"In today's day in age you never know when you have your roster set," Hutson said. "You have to adjust and that's just the new norm."

On May 20, the NCAA is set to vote on a one-time transfer waiver for any college athlete, making them eligible right away.

The Bulldogs signed graduate transfer Devin Gage, and the transfer rule could apply to Bakersfield Isiah Hill, who is transferring from Tulsa, and Fresno native Deon Stroud from UTEP.

"It was very important to get Valley guys on our roster," Hutson said. "We want to get the right ones, and we did. We're excited about all our newcomers, but especially excited for the Valley that they're going to see some familiar faces at the Save Mart Center."

During this pandemic, the staff has used Facetime and virtual Zoom tours to recruit. One challenge they have faced is making the non-confeerence schedule.

Fresno State will play a three-game tournament in Dana Point against Pepperdine, Evansville and Oakland University.

"Supply and demand, those that have money and those that need money, a lot of emphasis to rationalize," says assistant coach Keith Brown. "That's something we have been assessing as well."

One question mark on the current roster was the return of freshman guard Niven Hart, who declared for the NBA Draft.

"We're just going to support him, whatever he does, and hope he comes back," Hutson said.

While the Bulldogs don't know when they will be together again on campus, coach Hutson is hoping for the best..

"So we're just hoping and praying that everyone stays safe, trying to social distance, stay in touch with everyone, let them know we're thinking of them, but we're not really sure when we're coming back," he said.
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