Cezar Guerrero was a legend in Stillwater for about a week. In the third game of his career (vs Texas San Antonio in the preseason NIT) he not only scored 29 points on 8-17 threes, but with his team trailing 77-71 with 0:12 seconds left Guerrero took it to the hole, scored and got fouled. He calmly knocked down the free throw, stole the ball back, and buried a three. Game tied. In the OT he scored 8 points and added an assist.
In the next game he scored 9 points, and his minutes started declining. Over the next 27 games he scored in double digits once. He failed to score a point 10 times.
But then in March his game came alive again. He earned over 30 minutes of playing time in each of the Cowboys final three games, and he played well, averaging 13.3 points and 3 assists.
The LA native was expected to be a big part of this season, until – on the first day of classes – he dropped out of school and announced that he was transferring closer to home to be near his ailing mother.
Today he announced his destination.
Former St. John Bosco guard Cezar Guerrero has decided to transfer to Fresno State from Oklahoma State.
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) August 29, 2012
This is big news for the Bulldogs, as Guerrero is a former consensus top-100 recruit (No. 83). Considering they already signed this year's No. 53 recruit (7-0 Fresno native Robert Upshaw), they're quickly moving into high-major talent country. And they'll need it. This is their first year in the stacked Mountain West.
So how does Guerrero fit in? If he's denied a waiver to play immediately, then it's no big deal. If not, he enters into a deep back court, which, despite his talent, he'll have a tough time cracking.
Guerrero is a pure point. Despite his 8-17 shooting on threes in his famous coming out game, he only made 24.5% of his attempts the rest of the year. He wasn't much better on twos (39%) and has one of the lowest free throw rates you'll find (19.6 – which resulted in about one attempt per game).
Luckily, Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry isn't afraid to run a 3-guard set. He did that virtually all of last year. But that was before Upshaw arrived, and with Kansas partial-qualifier Braeden Anderson, a 6-8 power forward, sitting the season out after his transfer. They also return forwards Jerry Brown and Kevin Foster (43 combined starts between the two), so they'll have more freedom to run out a conventional lineup.
In the back court, the Bulldogs return two starters in Kevin Olekaibe and Tyler Johnson. Olekaibe is the scorer, whereas Tyler Johnson held more of the ball handling duties alongside graduated senior Steven Shepp. Also available is Allen Huddelston, who sat out last season after transferring from Pacific where he averaged over 11 per game as a freshman. Garrett Johnson returns for his senior season, and he was a starter two years ago, and then there are a pair of talented freshmen.
So if Guerrero is declared eligible this season, don't assume he earns major minutes simply with his pedigree. He'll first need to prove that he can be in control of the offense. And being such a late addition to the roster, he'll still be learning most of it.