Giddings thrives in 1st season with Wildcat basketball

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Junior center Tanner Giddings takes a jump shot over a Cal State L.A. defender at Acker Gym on Jan. 30. Giddings was a transfer student from Fresno State and will be returning to play with the Wildcats next season during his senior year. Photo credit: Caio Calado

Fresno State transfer and men’s basketball team center Tanner Giddings went from batting baseballs to making dunks.

Initially a baseball player in his youth, Giddings’ mother signed him up for the basketball team after the father of a teammate convinced her. It was during fourth grade when he began to play.

From then on, Giddings competed for his school’s team until he was in eighth grade. He would go on to play Amateur Athletic Union Travel basketball in high school, getting the chance to visit places like Indiana and Las Vegas.

Basketball’s fast pace is what made him fall in love with it, he said.

Giddings, who stands at 6 feet 10 inches, has just played in his first season for the Wildcat basketball team.

Coming into Chico State, Giddings set a goal for himself to make it to the NCAA Tournament, he said. With countless hours of practice and film sessions and always trying to improve as a team, everything fell into place.

The men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Championship Tournament. But the journey was cut short after losing against California Baptist 67-61 in the first round.

However, the team was able to win the conference title, which has been one of Giddings’ greatest accomplishments so far, he said.

“We worked for it,” Giddings said, “so it’s something that we deserve.”

In his first year, Giddings averaged a respectable 7.6 points per game and 3.5 rebounds.

“I’ve improved slowly but surely,” he said.

Next season, by the time Giddings graduates, he said that he wants to average 12 points and 9 rebounds per game because he is not satisfied with his current numbers.

“Sometimes I doubt myself,” he said. “I’m always a pass-first player.”

The team pushes him to become a better player, he said. They have confidence in him and it boosts up his confidence.

The team’s head coach, Greg Clink, has helped Giddings become more aggressive on the court, he said, which is something that he has always struggled with.

“He is a very good defender and has become more aggressive on both ends of the floor,” Clink said.

When Giddings was first recruited, Clink expected him to contribute in rebounding and defending, both of which have been accomplished by Giddings this past season.

GIddings enjoyed playing in front of the fans in Acker Gym because they boosted his energy.

“You can tell when someone makes a big shot,” he said. “It gets crazy. It kind of gets everyone going.”

Next season, Giddings will be returning as a senior. Before next fall, he wants to focus on putting more time into the gym and gaining some weight, he said.

Clink is expecting Giddings to contribute more scores.

“He is extremely skilled for his size,” Clink said. “I don’t think he has a lot of weakness in his game.”

Julie Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @julieOrtega_ on Twitter.