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Big 12 Hoops Investigates: Rodney Terry Is Bringing the Big 12 Out West

Don't call it a comeback: he's been here for years.
Don't call it a comeback: he's been here for years.

Have you noticed it at all? It's been slow and gradual but it's also been clear as day.

If you have a good memory.

Rodney Terry left Rick Barnes' staff in Austin to become the head coach at Fresno State last season. Sure it seemed like a weird place to go at first but hey, he's good at what he does. Maybe we'll hear his name once every five years and say "oh yeah" during March if the Bulldogs make the tournament.

Predictably, the Bulldogs stunk it up, finishing their 13-20 season with a sixteen point loss to New Mexico State in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament. But there was reason for optimism. It's one of those situations where only the people in the program, not you or me, can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But the way talent has trickled into Fresno, they may be closer than they think. And, for Terry, the source of that talent is a familiar one.

Back in August 2011, Braeden Anderson was all set to be a freshman power forward at Kansas. Unfortunately, the NCAA deemed Anderson as a partial qualifier in September and was unable to receive any financial aid from the Big 12, which then made him ineligible to play at KU.

A month after that, Anderson announces his intention to transfer to Fresno State because they accept partial qualifiers and will provide them with financial aid.

Anderson took second semester classes at FSU and will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs this fall.

"Fresno is a really good fit for me. I really like the coaches there. I'm a West Coast kid at heart. I have a ton of family in California," Anderson said after the announcement.

Yeah but he's just a small part of a recruiting class that was mostly ineligible anyway. Move along, nothing to see here.

Haha, moving along:

Fast forward to April 14. While some of you were finishing up your taxes, class of 2012 center Robert Upshaw (#55 on the ESPN 100/#52 on the Rivals150) decommitted from Kansas State upon Frank Martin taking the South Carolina job. No one knew what he would do next. ESPN's Dave Telep tweeted out USC, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, UNLV, Oregon and Washington as possible destinations for the big man.

Guess where he signs his national letter of intent.

The very next day.


"The real thing about it is, I had a relationship with coach Terry that's been lasting for the last four years. That's what really turned me on," Upshaw said then.

Ok that's one BIG NAME guy. It isn't unheard of for a top-100 talent to commit to a mid-major. You're reading too much into this.

Watch this.

Let's go back a week when we hear Oklahoma State starting PG Cezar Guerrero is going to transfer from the program to be closer to his mother in Los Angeles.

Nine days pass and after considering schools like Washington State, Long Beach State, UTEP and New Mexico State, Guerrero is fixing to land at FSU. He's essentially going from one of the best PGs in his old conference to arguably the best in the new one. Cray.

After reviewing these "transactions," taking the job was such a genius move by Terry. The optimism he has is stemming from Fresno State's new conference affiliation with the Mountain West Conference. The MWC has been one of the more competitive non-AQ leagues in America. Given his recruiting skills/connections, it won't be hard for Terry to convince guys to go to Fresno when they're playing the likes of UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico and Colorado State every year.

Either Terry will continue to give Big 12 coaches fits on the recruiting trail or Fresno State will be the newest member of the Big 12.

"That would suck," said every Big 12 coach.