Fresno State could be without two key players in starting point guard Jaron Hopkins and guard Jahmel Taylor on Wednesdeay when it plays a key Mountain West Conference men’s basketball game at San Diego State.
Hopkins and Taylor, both Fresno State graduates, have not yet been accepted to graduate school and with the spring semester starting on Tuesday they are not enrolled in school. Both were on the Mountain West Conference all-academic team last spring – Hopkins majored in communications and Taylor in economics.
“We’re working on stuff that should have been taken care of a long time ago,” coach Rodney Terry said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re hoping to have the situation taken care of by the time we tip, but we shouldn’t be in this position.
“The only thing I know is that they graduated. Everybody knew that they were graduating. I don’t know what happened on it, but hopefully between now and (Wednesday) it gets rectified.”
The Bulldogs (13-6, 3-3 in the MW) departed for San Diego State on Tuesday after an early afternoon practice, but Hopkins and Taylor did not travel with the team.
Interim athletics director Steve Robertello, who as deputy was in charge of student-athlete services and the day-to-day operations of the department, could not be reached for comment.
If Hopkins and Taylor are not enrolled and certified, the Bulldogs will be without two of the four guards who have played 10 or more minutes per game.
Taylor ranks fifth in the conference in 3-point shooting, having hit 44.5 percent of his shots (53 of 119), and is third on the team in minutes (29.7) and points per game (11.4).
Hopkins, who has played in six games since returning from a back injury, is fifth on the team in minutes (27.1) and fourth in scoring (11.1).
Deshon Taylor has played some at the point this season when Hopkins was out, but filling behind Hopkins and Jahmel Taylor will be difficult. Ray Bowles Jr. is the only other guard in the Bulldogs’ regular rotation.
Sophomore Johnny McWilliams has played in 15 of 19 games, but is averaging 9.4 minutes and over the past five games has logged just 7, 6, 2 and 4 four minutes. He did not play on Saturday in an 89-80 victory over New Mexico when Jahmel Taylor scored 16 points and Hopkins had 13 with nine rebounds and four assists.
New Williams, a mid-year transfer from Auburn, has played in just one game since becoming eligible for the start of conference play. He was on the floor for three minutes in a Jan. 3 overtime loss at Utah State.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE
- Wednesday: 8 p.m. at Viejas Arena
- TV/radio: ESPNU/KFIG (AM 940)
- Records: Bulldogs 13-6, 3-3 Mountain West; Aztecs 11-5, 3-2
- Of note: San Diego State lost 83-80 at Boise State on Saturday. The Aztecs are 7-1 at home, the loss 63-62 to Cal on Dec. 9. Fresno State won at Viejas Arena last season 63-55 and has won three of the past four matchups including 68-63 in the championship game of the 2016 Mountain West Tournament. The Aztecs again are one of the top defensive teams in the league, but had no answer for Chandler Hutchison in the loss at Boise State. Hutchison hit 15 of 21 shots in scoring 44 points, the most by a player in the Mountain West this season. San Diego State still ranks first in the league in scoring defense (65.8 ppg), field goal percentage defense (40.1) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (32.6).