More than 200 Bulldogs fans swapped smiles and shots, took selfies and exchanged high-fives with players and coaches from both Fresno State basketball teams as part of the programs’ first Community Night on Thursday at Save Mart Center.
It didn’t take long for the fun to start, with the men’s team dancing onto the floor led by senior Marvelle Harris and sophomore transfer Deshon Taylor, who lit the way on self-balance scooters.
Harris and Taylor got nudged off the two-wheeled devices a few times, but the night was mostly a smooth ride as the teams and Red Wave fan base shared in a lighthearted affair.
Coaches Jaime White and Rodney Terry opened with quick speeches about their programs and the upcoming seasons before introducing the teams.
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Players then invited fans on the court for a shoot-around, trading layups, three-pointers and laughs with fans young and old. An inflatable two-player basketball arcade was set up as friends and players challenged one another.
Nov. 13 The regular-season opener for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men host Pepperdine at Save Mart Center while the women travel to UC Riverside.
Incoming 6-foot-2 junior Anais Kirvan hoisted a few toddlers onto her shoulders to give them a better angle at the basket. Redshirt sophomore Bego Faz Davalos collected rebounds and helped switch out the little hoopsters off her teammate.
Kirvan was full of smiles and laughs in what was one of her first experiences with the Fresno State faithful.
“I had a lot of fun,” said the Australia native, who played last season for Vincennes University in Indiana. “I think the community here is a lot different than what I experienced at my last school. It’s a lot more supportive and everyone is a lot more involved.”
While teammates were engaged with fans on the floor, men’s junior forward Karachi Edo took time to walk through each row of seats to greet one by one those who stayed in the stands.
It’s more than basketball right now. It’s letting the community know, getting involved with the community and letting everybody meet the players and Fresno State as a whole. It’s being a Bulldog and showing how much pride you have doing it.
Bulldogs junior forward Karachi Edo
He posed for selfies, signed autographs and continued a cellphone conversation for more than two minutes after a fan passed him a call.
“It’s more than basketball right now,” Edo, a 6-6 junior, said. “It’s letting the community know, getting involved with the community and letting everybody meet the players and Fresno State as a whole. It’s being a Bulldog and showing how much pride you have doing it.”
Edo added he knows some fans might be too timid to approach players and older ones might not want to get up from their seats. So he tries to make up for that with his outgoing personality.
“I’m more of a hands-on type dude where I just want to meet everybody. I’m a friendly individual who goes out and wants to conversate with everybody. My main point was to get up there and conversate with everybody and let them know how the season is going to be and go from there.”
The Bulldogs Community Night was a first for both programs, replacing the usual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage.
2015-16 FRESNO STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
- Nov. 6, vs. Dominican (exhibition)
- Nov. 13, vs. Pepperdine
- Nov. 16, vs. Lamar (Roundball Showcase at campus site)
- Nov. 19, vs. San Francisco (Roundball Showcase at campus site)
- Nov. 22, at Rice (Roundball Showcase at campus site)
- Nov. 27, vs. Delaware State (Roundball Showcase at campus site)
- Nov. 30, at Oregon
- Dec. 3, vs. The Master’s
- Dec. 5, at Cal Poly
- Dec. 9, at Arizona
- Dec. 12, vs. Pacific
- Dec. 16, vs. Cal State Bakersfield
- Dec. 20, vs. Evansville
- Dec. 27, vs. Pacific Union
- Dec. 30, at UNLV#
- Jan. 2, vs. New Mexico#
- Jan. 6, vs. Nevada#
- Jan. 9, at Boise State#
- Jan. 16, vs. San Jose State#
- Jan. 20, at San Diego State#
- Jan. 23, at Air Force#
- Jan. 27, vs. Wyoming#
- Feb. 3, at San Jose State#
- Feb. 6, vs. UNLV#
- Feb. 10, vs. San Diego State#
- Feb. 13, at Nevada#
- Feb. 17, at Wyoming#
- Feb. 20, vs. Utah State#
- Feb. 24, vs. Air Force#
- Feb. 27, at New Mexico#
- March 2, vs. Colorado State#
- March 5, at Utah State#
#Mountain West Conference game
2015-16 FRESNO STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
- Nov. 6, vs. Cal State East Bay (exhibition)
- Nov. 13, at UC Riverside
- Nov. 1, vs. Fresno Pacific
- Nov. 20, vs. Washington
- Nov. 23, vs. George Washington
- Nov. 27, at St. Mary’s Tournament
- Nov. 28, at St. Mary’s Tournament
- Dec. 2, vs. Cal State Bakersfield
- Dec. 5, at Cal Poly
- Dec. 8, vs. Cal State Stanislaus
- Dec. 12, vs. San Diego
- Dec. 19, at Utah
- Dec. 30, vs. UNLV#
- Jan. 2, at New Mexico#
- Jan. 6, at Nevada#
- Jan. 9, vs. Boise State#
- Jan. 16, at San Jose State#
- Jan. 20, vs. San Diego State#
- Jan. 23, vs. Air Force#
- Jan. 27, at Wyoming#
- Feb. 3, vs. San Jose State#
- Feb. 6, at UNLV#
- Feb. 10, at San Diego State#
- Feb. 13, vs. Nevada#
- Feb. 17, vs. Wyoming#
- Feb. 20, at Utah State#
- Feb. 24, at Air Force#
- Feb. 27, vs. New Mexico#
- March 1, at Colorado State#
- March 4, vs. Utah State#
#Mountain West Conference game