Six months after Fresno State concluded last season with a sweep of UNLV and a series of competitive performances against the rest of the Mountain West's top tier, the optimism the Bulldogs generated is starting to fade.
First, senior guard Kevin Olekaibe transferred to UNLV even though he'll have to pay his own way to play for the Rebels this season. Then, heralded center Robert Upshaw was dismissed from the program following his third violation of team rules. And now there's a chance Fresno State won't have former Kansas signee Braeden Anderson for an extended period as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident earlier this week.
Anderson remains in a Fresno hospital as a result of a neck injury sustained when he and walk-on Kyle Jackson were in a four-car crash Tuesday night in which one man was killed, the Fresno Bee reported. The driver of a 1997 Honda lost control of his vehicle, drove into oncoming traffic and eventually struck the left side of a 2011 Dodge driven by Jackson.
Though Jackson escaped without injury, the severity of Anderson's injuries remain unclear. ESPN.com reported Anderson does have movement in all of his extremities but his status for the season remains uncertain.
Basketball is obviously of secondary concern after an accident as severe as this, but not having Anderson this season would be a crippling loss for Fresno State. Though the 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore averaged a modest 4.1 points and 3.5 boards in 10 games last season, he had been expected to play a far bigger role this season, especially after the departure of Upshaw.
Anderson, a native of Canada, chose Kansas out of high school after also receiving interest from the likes of Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee and UCLA. He was ruled a non-qualifier at Kansas, enrolled at Fresno State and sat out a season and a half before finally making his debut for the Bulldogs midway through Mountain West play last year.