William McDowell-White, the five-star point guard from Australia and top player in the Fresno State Bulldogs’ 2016 basketball recruiting class, is headed to a Southern California prep school to complete academic work required to gain entrance to the university and is not likely to be eligible to practice or play until midyear.
“He has a couple more hurdles to overcome academically, mainly courses to satisfy the standards,” coach Rodney Terry said Wednesday. “We highly anticipate him being with us this season.”
The fall semester at Fresno State started Monday and students have until Sept. 19 to add classes, but Terry said he did not anticipate McDowell-White becoming a full-time student in that time frame.
He’s a very talented basketball player who will help us reach another level as a program.
Coach Rodney Terry on guard William McDowell-White
The 6-foot-5 guard, who participated in the Nike Hoop Summit and Basketball Without Borders camp held during NBA All-Star weekend, instead is headed to the Elite Educational Institute at Anaheim Hills to complete the course work to be admitted to school.
There is no timetable on when McDowell-White will be eligible, but the likely scenario is he will join the Bulldogs at midyear and enroll in the spring semester.
If admitted for the spring semester, he can join the team after the fall semester ends. Fall final exams are taken between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15 and the semester ends Dec. 20.
The Bulldogs lost three senior guards from their NCAA Tournament team in Mountain West Player of the Year Marvelle Harris as well as Cezar Guerrero and Julien Lewis.
“He’s still working to attain his NCAA qualifier status and he has got to take care of that business before he can enroll at Fresno State,” said Steve Robertello, deputy director of athletics. “But we do expect him here at some point this season. Once he becomes a qualifier, obviously, he has to enroll in school and do that piece. So, realistically probably sometime right after the (fall) semester ends.”
Fresno State has not released a full schedule for the 2016-17 season, but the Bulldogs have typically played one or two games between the end of final exams and the start of the conference season. The Mountain West opener is Dec. 28 at New Mexico.
McDowell-White is expected to have a marked impact on the Bulldogs, once he joins a team that has designs on a return trip to the NCAA Tournament and lost three senior guards in Marvelle Harris, the Mountain West Player of the Year, Cezar Guerrero and Julien Lewis.
“He’s a very talented basketball player who will help us reach another level as a program,” Terry said. “We lost a lot in the backcourt and we feel he is the type of player that will help our returning players reach great heights in the coming years.”
Coach Rodney Terry on whether there was any concern guard William McDowell-White would end up elsewhere
The Bulldogs have several options at point guard including Colorado transfer Jaron Hopkins and Deshon Taylor, a transfer from Missouri-Kansas City.
Darryl McDowell-White, William’s brother, is in school along with a strong 2016 recruiting class including 6-8 forward Bryson Williams from Roosevelt High, 6-11 center Lazaro Rojas from Brazil and the Score Academy in Florida, 6-6 guard Johnny McWilliams from San Marcos High and 6-4 guard Jacob Holland from Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo.
Fresno State, which won the Mountain West Tournament last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001, also returns forwards Paul Watson, Cullen Russo and Karachi Edo, center Terrell Carter II and guards Jahmel Taylor and Sam Bittner.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada