To celebrate SLAM’s 30th anniversary, we’re spotlighting the 30 most influential men’s college teams from our past 30 years. Stats, records and chips aren’t the main factor here, it’s all about their contribution to the game’s cultural fabric.

For the next 30 days—Monday through Friday— we’ll be unveiling the full list here. We’ve also got an exclusive retro collegiate collection, out now, that pays homage to each squad’s threads. Shop here.

Picture this: bold colors, flashy designs, and a whole lot of swagger. That’s exactly what kind of aura the ‘98 Fresno State Bulldogs exuded that season. Rocking radiant red uniforms with the Bulldogs written on the hem of the shorts and loud blue waistbands, the Bulldogs didn’t just play basketball; they made a statement with their threads. You couldn’t miss them on the court, and trust me, you didn’t want to. 

The man calling the shots for the Bulldogs was none other than Jerry Tarkanian, a coaching icon known for his flashy demeanor and even flashier plays. As he was affectionately known, Tark wasn’t just a coach; he was a showman. His fast-paced, high-flying style of play kept fans on the edge of their seats and opponents on their toes. With Tark at the helm, you never knew what kind of jaw-dropping move or play was coming next. 

Known for their exceptional talent and contributions to the team, Chris Herren, Rafer Alston, and Terrance Roberson helped elevate Fresno State’s dominance in college basketball. Chris Herren, a point guard with lightning-fast reflexes and an uncanny ability to read the game, was the engine that drove the Bulldogs’ offense. His court vision was second to none, and his knack for finding open teammates made him a nightmare for defenses to handle.

On the cover of Issue 22, we dubbed “Skip to My Lou” the best point guard in the world—high expectations for a 20-year-old junior hailing from Queens. But if you knew anything about Rafer, you knew he was about to raise the playing field for NYC point gods across the collegiate scene. Playground prodigy, high school legend. The Bull Dogs’ engine. A player who would go on to define SLAM’s 30 years.

Skip made an immediate impact with his electrifying style of play, averaging 11 points and 7.3 assists per game which helped the team to a 20-win season.  Then there was Terrance Roberson, known as “T-Rob,” a standout player known for his scoring ability. Standing at 6 ‘7, T-Rob helped Fresno State appear in the NCAA tourney by averaging 14.6 a game to put Fresno State on top. Their individual talents weren’t enough to get Fresno State far in the NCAA Tournament, but the Bulldogs weren’t just a two-man show; they had a supporting cast that was every bit as talented and exciting to watch. Chris Herren would dazzle defenders in the pick-and-roll, dishing out 4.8 assists and swiping nearly 2 steals a game on top of 15.6 points per. Tremaine Fowlkes diced up the paint easily while tearing down boards and immediately kick-starting the fast break. Every player on the roster brought something special to the table. Together, they formed a cohesive unit greater than the sum of its parts, a team that was as formidable as it was entertaining. 

The record books may not reflect it, but Fresno State’s 97-98 squad stamped the San Joaquin Valley with an unreplicable season. The crosses, the dimes, and the shots may never be seen again in such a fashion. So it’s about time they got their due shine. Their impact brought attention to the talent and potential of the team, and they laid the groundwork for future success by even making it to the tournament. 

Photos via Getty Images.


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