Fresno State backup point guard Lionel Ellison is leaving the program and will transfer in search of more playing time for his final year of college basketball.
“Obviously with what we’ve got slated in terms of his position, he wants to be more of a significant guy and I can’t guarantee that for him right now with one year to play,” coach Rodney Terry said.
“For us, he was more of a situational player and a guy that came in and gave us a positive contribution defensively. Offensively, he came in and initiated our offense and stuff, but he probably wasn’t out there for as long as he wanted to be out there. I get that. He has one year to play and has aspirations of doing things past college, so he needs to have a résumé that warrants that.”
He came in and initiated our offense and stuff, but he probably wasn’t out there for as long as he wanted to be out there.
Bulldogs coach Rodney Terry on Lionel Ellison
Ellison, who came to Fresno State last season from Coffeyville Community Collegein Kansas, played an average of 13.5 minutes in 32 games and in Mountain West play was used primarily as a defensive presence.
On the year, he averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game and had 17 steals and two blocks. His high-point games were seven, going 1 of 2 at the three-point line and 4 of 4 on free throws in a loss at Oregon, and 3 of 4 including a three-pointer in a victory over Cal State Bakersfield at the Save Mart Center.
With Ellison moving on, the Bulldogs are at the NCAA limit of 13 scholarship players for the 2016-17 season. Terry and his staff were one over in signing six players this year including four guards – five-star prospect William McDowell-White from Brisbane, Australia, his brother Darryl McDowell-White, Jacob Holland from Otero Junior College in Colorado and Johnny McWilliams from San Marcos High.
1.6/1.5 Average points and rebounds per game for Lionel Ellison for the Bulldogs in 2015-16
Fresno State in addition signed forwards Bryson Williams from Fresno’s Roosevelt High and Lazaro Rojas from the Score Academy in Naples, Fla.
Terry also has Jahmel Taylor returning as a combo guard, as well as transfers Jaron Hopkins (Colorado) and Deshon Taylor (Missouri-Kansas City) eligible after sitting out a year ago when the Bulldogs won 25 games, won the Mountain West Tournament and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada