First reported by ESPN and since confirmed by the Idaho Statesman, Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice has been named the new head coach for the Boise State men's basketball team. Rice had been at Gonzaga for the last 11 years. Hopefully he can do something similar for Boise State! Is this a good hire or not? Is it enough to get you excited about Boise State basketball again?
Share your thoughts in the comments. More information and quotes - including a recruiting soap opera - after the jump.
Feedback on the Leon Rice hiring
"He's someone who knows the ins and outs of one of the best college basketball stories in the past 10 or 12 years," Ray Giacoletti, an assistant on the Gonzaga staff, told the Idaho Statesman on Thursday night. "He's been here the entire time with Mark building Gonzaga into what it is today."
Olympia, Washington's The Olympian confirms that Rice has a personality.
Rice, known for his outgoing personality, has been a key recruiter for Gonzaga.
The Spokesman-Review also chimed in with insight into Rice's future at Gonzaga and his competition for the Boise State job:
Rice was generally considered the favorite to be the next head coach at Gonzaga if Few were to move on to another job. With Rice accepting the BSU job, it could be an indication that Few, who is reportedly high on Oregon’s list of candidates, plans on staying at Gonzaga.
Rice was one of at least three candidates to interview at Boise State. The others were Portland head coach Eric Reveno and former Montana coach Larry Krystkowiak.
From KTVB, a sign of things to come?
... in his one solo year as Head Coach, Rice went 31-2.
Sure, it was at Yakima Valley College, but still.
And Gonzaga's SB Nation blog, The Slipper Still Fits, brought up an interview with Rice last summer in which the new Bronco head man had nothing but nice things to say about Mark Few, Gonzaga, and potential future employers.
Professionally, it is something that I will entertain and I have looked around at a small number of opportunities, but I don't actively pursue jobs, or initiate the contact. However, if the right one comes along and if I'm lucky enough to be involved, I'll look at it. But it has to be a very very good position for me to even consider it.
Update on incoming Boise State recruits
The Statesman's Nick Jezierny tracked down a pair of incoming Bronco recruits to get their take on the Rice hire. Point guard Chris Kupets (Hill College, Texas) is excited at the possibilities of an up-tempo style of play.
"I hope we get to play like (Gonzaga) because it's up and down and I can use my speed and athleticism and get the ball to all the guys running," Kupets said.
Forward Bryn Prinsloo (Mesa Community College, Arizona) is vaguely stoked.
"... pretty awesome."
And then we have ...
... the Ben Mills hostage crisis
Mills, a 7-foot center from Wisconsin's Arrowhead High who committed to the Broncos, has asked for his release from his national letter of intent. Gene Bleymaier has said no.
Ben Mills, a senior 7-footer at Arrowhead High in Hartland, Wisc., has asked Boise State to release him from his national letter of intent. Mills led his team to the Wisconsin state championship last weekend, posting double-doubles in points and rebounds in each game. Mills was a highly recruited player and had 19 scholarship offers.
Plus, he watched the WAC tournament and yikes.
Any thoughts on the hiring of Leon Rice? Think adding a Gonzaga man will be what the program needs to achieve relevance in Boise? How long until the Broncos are winning again? Share your thoughts in the comments.