The signs of Jerry Tarkanian's presence at Fresno State are as
unmistakable as they are pervasive, from the stuffed toy sharks
being sold in the campus bookstore to the future NBA employees
bending the rims in the school's sweltering old South Gym. One
can also point to the Bulldogs' first 22-win season since 1985,
the 20% increase in home attendance and the suspiciously toothy
design some Fresno State logos have recently acquired. Indeed,
no one on campus would be very surprised if Adidas, the
nine-month-old bulldog puppy who roams FSU's basketball offices,
suddenly sprouted a dorsal fin.
But nowhere has Tarkanian's influence been greater than in the
heart of Dominick Young. This talented point guard's chronic
irresponsibility during his sophomore year at FSU--he was often
late to practice and was on the verge of flunking out even while
being named honorable-mention All-WAC--had tested the faith of
former coach Gary Colson's staff. "Dominick Young will destroy
your team," ex-Colson assistant Bobby Hoffman told Tarkanian on
his way out the door. "You can't win with him."
Tarkanian gave Young a chance, though. There were a few more
bouts of irresponsible behavior: Young was suspended for the
first four games last season after failing to return money
donated to him for a summer basketball trip he never took, and
then a New Year's party he threw at a local hotel spun out of
control, causing $1,500 in damages. But he eventually cleaned up
his act, and Tarkanian found he could hardly win without him.
Young's nation-leading three-point shooting (4.1 treys a game)
was the difference in four dramatic wins. After Young ended
15th-ranked Utah's 27-game home winning streak with a
last-second three-pointer in January, he tackled his coach in
"Tark has been a major factor in my success," says Young. "He's
given us a winning attitude."
"When Tark first got here, there were rumors that he was going
to recruit a bunch of All-Americas and forget about us," says
center Rahsaan Smith, another Colson holdover Tarkanian was
advised to dump. "But he said, 'I believe in you and I'm gonna
stick by you.' We just needed someone to light the fire."
So now that the fire is lit, how hot will it get when Tark adds
to it three former high school All-Americas, all of whom are
hungry after sitting out last season? With Chris Herren, a
former McDonald's All-America who transferred from Boston
College, joining Young in the backcourt and three-point ace
Kendric Brooks coming off the bench, "our backcourt will be
equal to if not better than any in the country by January," says
In the frontcourt, Terrance Roberson, a three-time Parade
All-America from Saginaw, Mich., joins Smith and Daymond Forney,
a power forward and junior college All-America transfer from
Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Florida.
Talk about the Tark impact: As good as this team is, waiting in
the wings are transfers Avondre Jones and Tremaine Fowlkes, who
may help put Fresno on the basketball map for a long time to
COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO Under Tark, Young has shown heart. [Dominick Young in game]
THE DATA BOX
Coach: Jerry Tarkanian
Career record: 647-133 (25 seasons)
Record at FSU: 22-11 (one season)
1995-96 record: 22-11 (final ranking: none)
WAC record: 13-5 (third)
PG *Dominick Young, 5'10", Sr.
Led NCAA with 4.1 three-pointers per game
SG Chris Herren, 6'3", Soph.
Heralded transfer from BC starts anew
SF Terrance Roberson, 6'7", Soph.
May be better than his cousin Mark Macon
PF Daymond Forney, 6'8", Jr.
Averaged 21 ppg in 1995 juco tourney
C *Rahsaan Smith, 6'10", Sr.
Set school record with 71 blocks last year
Dec. 10 at UMass
Bulldogs take on Minutemen for first time
Dec. 14 at Texas
Matchup of two of the nation's best backcourts
Dec. 21 vs. Texas Tech (at Las Vegas)
Tark 130-6 alltime in Thomas and Mack Center
Jan. 25 at Wyoming
Fresno allowed LaDrell Whitehead 29 ppg in '95-96
Feb. 17 at UNLV
First time Tark faces Rebels since leaving Las Vegas