Fresno State received an oral commitment Friday from Ray Bowles, a graduate transfer from Pacific who fills a pressing need for the Bulldogs at the three.
The 6-foot-5 forward started all 33 games for the Tigers last season, averaging 13.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists. That includes a Dec. 17 game against Fresno State in which he scored 16 points with five rebounds and five assists.
That familiarity with the Bulldogs was a factor in determining where he would continue his career.
Bowles picked Fresno State over Boise State, which should immediately make him a favorite for Bulldogs fans. He also is a Valley product, a two-time Most Valuable Player in the Trans Valley League when at Modesto Christian High.
Fresno State played in the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and the NIT this past season, the first time it had advanced to NCAA postseason play in back-to-back years since 2001.
“It was my third year this year playing against them,” Bowles said. “Personnel-wise, I know what the players can do through scouting reports and things like that.
“I saw a good thing. I like the facilities there. The campus is nice. But, overall, I think it’s going to be a great time.”
Coach Rodney Terry is not allowed by NCAA rules to comment on recruits until a national letter of intent or financial aid agreement has been signed. Bowles said he is focused on finishing his classes and will complete the paper work closer to his graduation. The ceremony at Pacific is May 13.
But if the recruiting process means anything, Bowles was a priority for the Bulldogs this spring.
He was really interested in me. If it wasn't me, he was hitting up my mom or my dad or my AAU coach, who was helping me through this process as well.
Fresno State commit Ray Bowles on coach Rodney Terry
“If it wasn’t me, he was hitting up my mom or my dad or my AAU coach, who was helping me through this process as well,” Bowles said. “He was constantly hitting one of us up, just talking about how much of an impact I can make over there at Fresno State and how much they would love to have me there.”
Bowles, who scored a season-high 26 points with five rebounds and seven assists in a victory over Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference Tournament, fits.
Johnny McWilliams also plays the three – McWilliams played in 22 games as a freshman last season, averaging 6.2 minutes and 1.2 points.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada