OBNUG started out as a football blog, but has slowly evolved into a site covering all things blue and orange. With the acquisition of press credentials last year, the Bronco world got a little bigger, and because Boise State is just so darn good at so many things, the calls got louder and louder for our team to branch out into covering other sports. As luck would have it, the Bronco basketball team (both men and women) have enjoyed remarkable success of late in the always-tough Mountain West. Leon Rice has led a program rennaissance that has put the Broncos in the national discussion for something besides football, and Taco Bell Arena is filling back up like it was when they gave away tacos that one time. Admittedly, I'm not much of a basketball nerd. I watch any Bronco b-ball game I can and dutifully fill out a bracket every March...but I'm no expert like our dear departed writer Jesse Baker. That said, we'll all do our level best to provide the best coverage we can of this basketball season, a season that coincidentally starts tonight.
With that, here's a mini preview of basketball things that I know and think I know about the 2015 Broncos.
Paris Austin is going to be a star.
The 4-star true frosh point guard out of Bishop O'Dowd should have Bronco fans excitement meters pinning. The semi-diminutive PG could have played for a whole host of schools (Florida State, among them) but luckily chose Boise State. His highlight mix-tape on youtube currently has roughly 680,000 views, so I think he's the kind of player that could potentially put derrieres in the seats.
The Drmictologist is back.
I know not who came up with Anthony Drmic's nickname-of-choice...but it's pretty on par with the lame puns we would have offered, so I'm going with it. The super senior Aussie missed almost all of 2014 with a bum ankle and then got surgery on said ankle which ballooned it to cartoonish proportions.
Dear lord pic.twitter.com/mu42HVns9N
— Anthony Drmic (@AnthonyDrmic) January 22, 2015
Well, I assume the swelling has finally gone down and I'd like to think that Mr. Drmic has at least one more good year left in his bionic foot. Remember, Drmic is just 416 points shy of the all-time points record (held by Tanoka Beard), so if his foot (and arms, specifically) can conjur up roughly 13 points per contest, the record is his.
James Webb is good at dunking, amongst other things.
James Webb III had a breakout season last year for the Broncos and was recognized for it by the MWC as he garnered Newcomer of the Year honors. "Webbie", as he's called (in my dreams a hat-tip to Ducktales), got off to a slow start last season...barely even seeing the floor in the first 5 games...but once Leon Rice peeled the lid off of Pandora's box, the scoring machine couldn't be stopped. In 27 starts last season, Webb scored in double figures 20 times and had 8 double-doubles. Maybe most impressive was Webb's shooting percentage from long-range...a NBA Jam-esque 41%.
We've got HEIGHT
For all the Broncos strengths, they haven't had a true "big man" in a while, and since the departure of Ryan Watkins, they haven't really had a big body that could go up and grab rebounds. The Broncos are hoping that they've solved at least some of that with the acquisition of several of the big fellas. The Broncos currently have 3 players 6'10" and above and at least one or two should see the floor this year. There's been some talk about redshirting David Wacker, but that leaves German import Robin Jorch and frosh Texan Zach Haney under the hoop. Keep in mind, the 6'9" James Webb has plenty of height too...and can juuuuuump.
The Broncos have some exciting youngsters on the squad, like Chandler Hutchison, Malek Harwell (sidelined with injury), and the aformentioned Paris Austin...but overall, the team has a lot more game experience than they've fielded in quite some time. According to SID Michael Walsh, the average age on the 2015 Broncos squad is 20.97 meaning they can almost celebrate each win with a celebratory round of beers. Gotta wait just .03 years guys!
The Broncos should be as fast and athletic team as any in recent memory, but they'll also have a bevy of guys that can hit the tre. Drmic has hit 214 threes in his career, and I've already talked about James Webb's downtown prowess. The Broncos also return junior Nick Duncan—a career 39% three-point shooter, and gain the services of Boston College transfer Lonnie Jackson, who is 9th all-time in 3-pointers made at BC.