Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

With Marks gone, Boise State shouldn’t slip much

October 5, 2015 Columns No Comments

Boise State has often reloaded on the gridiron, where the Broncos have had plenty of success. The hardwood, however, has been a different story – until now. They may have made the NCAA Tournament last year for the second time in three seasons, led by a senior, but with him gone, they shouldn’t drop much this year, if they drop at all.

This is somewhat new territory for the program. We’re talking about a program that has only been to the NCAA Tournament seven times in its entire history, and prior to the last two trips had never done so as an at-large selection. Last season, they had their highest seed since the tournament expanded to 64 teams, a No. 11. They still haven’t won a game, so there’s lots of new territory to still reach.

Derrick Marks, the 2014-15 Mountain West Player of the Year, is gone, and that’s a significant hit for the Broncos, as it would be for a lot of teams. He closed out a terrific career by leading the conference in scoring, including a big run in conference play as he posted the fourth-best number in that category in conference history. It would have been easy to think the Broncos were in trouble when Anthony Drmic was lost for the season in December, but Marks made sure that didn’t happen. He left the program third on their all-time scoring list.

He had good help, though, even with Drmic having to redshirt due to an ankle injury that required surgery. This season, the Broncos will reap the benefits of that as Drmic returns and junior James Webb III, the conference’s Newcomer of the Year, looks ready to take on a bigger role. They won’t be alone, either.

Drmic will get additional perimeter help from Boston College transfer Lonnie Jackson, giving the Broncos a tandem on the perimeter that opponents must be wary of. Jackson is a proven three-point shooter, but can do more than that as he is a capable passer with a good feel for the game. Junior Nick Duncan is another full-time starter who returns, while senior Mikey Thompson and sophomore Chandler Hutchinson also started more than half of last season’s games and David Wacker also got minutes as part of a highly-touted freshman group. Zach Haney redshirted last year and should help this year, as should freshman point guard Paris Austin, who was a key part of a state title team in California last year playing alongside Cal freshman Ivan Rabb.

Webb will anchor the frontcourt alongside the likes of Duncan and Wacker, while Haney will play, and there is more depth on a front line that could see five players 6’8″ or taller play and contribute. Freshman Robin Jorch, a German import, is practicing with the team but has not yet been cleared by the NCAA. If cleared, he adds size at 6’10.”

Boise State has been an offensive powerhouse under head coach Leon Rice, but they did more than that last season. They maintained their offensive prowess in part by being in the top 20 in the nation in fewest turnovers, and they were second in the conference in scoring after leading the Mountain West in that category each of the prior two seasons and three of the past four. They also had one of the best defensive seasons in program history, and repeating that will certainly go a long way towards a repeat of the bottom line.

This is what Rice has built, and he’s no stranger to winning. Before he took the job in Boise, he was one of the chief architects of Gonzaga’s nearly two decades of winning, a remarkable run, as he was an assistant from 1999 until he left to lead Boise State in 2010. Gonzaga went to the NCAA Tournament every year of his tenure, and Boise State has now made it three times in five years with him at the helm. While the program has had some success over the years, the Broncos may be in the midst of their best ever in Division I, though that remains to be seen.

Rice has now built a program that looks poised for long-term success. Each of the three upperclassmen groups has at least one significant contributor, and the freshmen this year should follow suit as well. Drmic was a second team All-MWC player two seasons ago and figured to be in the mix for the first team had he stayed healthy last year. The Broncos managed to make the NCAA Tournament with him missing most of the season.

Boise State’s basketball team has a long way to go to even remotely match the football program in terms of consistent success. This year, they might show the first sign of moving in that direction, as they should be able to at least contend for an NCAA Tournament appearance once again with their best player from last season having moved on.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.