The Boise State men's basketball team finishes the regular season tonight, having already clinched the WAC tournament's No. 2 seed and the two byes that come with it. Not bad for a team that lost six of seven during the conference schedule. Makes me feel bad for kind of giving up on them for a while.
With the Broncos officially the second-best team in the WAC, what kind of awards can Boise State players and coaches expect to receive from the conference media? Players of the Year, All-WAC teams, and more will be announced in the coming days. Read on for the Boise State candidates deserving of an honor or two, as well as a preview of tonight's game.
vs. San Jose State, 7:05 p.m. MTVote La'Shard Anderson for WAC Player of the Year
Anderson clearly is the straw that stirs the drink on the Boise State basketball team. He's the best guard in the conference, he single-handedly won three or four of the games in the Broncos' current six game winning streak, and he leads the league in steals and is second in assists. Boise State has not had a player like Anderson since ... who? Koby Karl? Reggie Larry? Chris Childs? I don't mean to go all Idaho Statesman here, but La'Shard Anderson may be the greatest player in the history of Boise State basketball. Or all basketball. I'm pretty high on him right now.
Likely winner: Adrian Oliver, San Jose State (averages 24 points per)
Vote Leon Rice for WAC Coach of the Year
In Rice's first season, his team jumped out to a 6-0 start, which was amazing, and then went on a 1-and-6 swoon deep in the heart of conference play, which was not so amazing. Whatever Rice did to pull the Broncos out of that funk and set them on the path to winning six in a row is deserving of Coach of the Year honors. I'm thinking it was either thinly veiled threats or motivational posters.
Likely winner: Stew Morrill, Utah State
Vote Ryan Watkins for WAC Freshman of the Year
Watkins has started all 15 of the Broncos' WAC games and has occasionally been the only inside presence the Broncos can count on. The true freshman shoots a team leading 50 percent from the field, and averages five points and three rebounds per night.
Likely winner: Deonte Burton, Nevada
Vote La'Shard Anderson to the All-WAC first team
Pretty much everyone who watches WAC basketball is in agreement that Anderson is a shoo-in for first-team honors. Here is the group of five that most people expect to see on the first-team:
- G Adrian Oliver, San Jose State
- F Tai Wesley, Utah State
- G La'Shard Anderson, Boise State
- F Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State
- F Dario Hunt, Nevada
Tonight's game against San Jose State means nothing for the Broncos as far as the WAC tournament is concerned, so let it fly, Paul Noonan. If you're looking for storylines, well, it might be fun to watch SJSU's Adrian Oliver play, and a SJSU win could mean that the Spartans would be on Boise State's side of the bracket come tournament time. Oh and there's this: Boise State's last game against SJSU went into quadruple overtime. Even half as many overtimes would be exciting.
What postseason awards do you think the Broncos will win? Is Leon Rice's 6-game WAC winning streak more impressive than Stew Morrill's 14-1 WAC record? Share your thoughts in the comments.