Boise State lost the heart and soul of its team last year with the graduation of 4-year starter Jason Ellis
. However, the loss of JEllis, despite painful, is hardly a death toll for the Broncos.
Boise State returns one of the most experienced and talented back courts in the WAC in Juniors Eric Lane
(PG) and Coby Karl
Both Lane and Karl went into last year as the clear starters at their respective positions, and both showed why as they led the Broncos to the WAC Championship game before bowing out to WAC Champion UTEP
Coby Karl returns as the #1 scoring threat. Karl averaged 12.7 ppg last season along with 3.7 rebounds, and a team best 3.8 assists.
Already known around the conference, Coby was just recently named to the All-WAC
Pre-Season 2nd team, the only Bronco to be honored in the preseason.
Eric Lane returns after averaging 9.5 ppg last season. Eric also averaged 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Elane is the unquestioned quarterback of the team and flashed the brilliance Bronco fans have waited to see during the WAC tourney.. giving fans great hope for the final 2 seasons of his collegiate career.
Joining them is a cast of returners that saw significant playing time and made big contributions during the Broncos tourney run.
Leading the charge is another Junior, SF Seth Robinson
. Robinson joined the Broncos last season after 1 season at Scottsdale Community College. A somewhat slow starter, Robinson came on hard in the last half of the season and became the first man off the bench for the Broncos. Seth also showed his mettle during the tourney as he returned from a painful seperated shoulder to play less than 24 hours later in the WAC Championship game. For the season, Robinson averaged 5.8 ppg and 3.4 rebounds per game.
After Robinson, Senior Center Tez Banks
averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. A strong offensive rebounder, Banks will be counted on to help pick up the slack for JEllis' departed 8.7 rebounds per game, and
upgrade his inside scoring threat, which did improve once he learned the system.
Rounding out the returners are Senior Forward Kareem Lloyd
, 3.3 ppg, 3.2 rebounds; and Senior PG McNeal Thompson
, 2.4 ppg.
Fresh off of redshirting is Sophomore Guard Matt Bauscher
, (walked on from Vallivue HS by way of Spokane Falls CC, awarded a scholarship for this his Soph. season), and Freshman Center Colin Hallberg
, (a true big man who even at 6'9 255lbs can run the floor very well and is a real battler on the boards.)
Both Bauscher and Hallberg will be expected to see valuable minutes as they have been in the system now for over a year and will be needed to spell the returning 6 players with experience.
Bauscher is a scoring threat who spent 1 season being Spokane Fall's Mr. Everything. He led SFCC in nearly every statistical category, from scoring, (18.2ppg), to rebounding, (6.3rpg), to assists, (4.2apg), to minutes played. He really thrived last season under Coach Greg Graham's system and practiced his way into a paid education.
Colin Hallberg is a project player, but one worth spending time on. His senior HS stats were unremarkable, (4.9ppg and 3.1rpg), however his size and pure athleticism make him an important part of the equation for Boise State's success. An intimidating big man, Colin is 260lbs of pure muscle, and will be a hard defender to move off the block.
Seeing their first action as Broncos yesterday were a mix of Transfers and True Freshman. The talent this group will provide may not be felt until next year, but the value they add is hard to miss.
6'9 F/C Matt Nelson
jumps off the pages. This Junior, forced to redshirt because of NCAA Transfer requirements, was the Big Sky Freshman of the year just 2 seasons ago at Eastern Washington. Nelson started as a True Freshman in Cheney and ended up starting 39 of EWU's 52 games, missing only due to injury. He led the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game, with 2.4 of those being on the Offensive end, while averaging 8.6 ppg. As a True Freshman, Matt averaged 5 rebounds and 7.9 ppg. He will redshirt and join the Broncos next season with 2 years of eligiblity.
Next is JC Transfer Kenny Wilson
. An athletic Guard/SF combo, Wilson can shoot lights out from the 3, (averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game as a Soph), but still is athletic enough to finish strong at the hole. A pure shooter, Kenny shot 86.7% from the free throw line. Also averaged 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.7 steals. As a freshman, he averaged 8 ppg, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals per game while shooting 42% from the field. Wilson, like Nelson, is expected to redshirt this season, giving the Broncos a very good upper class mix next season.
Joining the Broncos as a Sophomore is Tyler Tiedeman
. Tiedeman is expected to push for playign time immediately at the SG/SF position. At 6'6, Tyler has good size, but also has nearly limitless range on his jumper. In only 1 JC season, Tyler averaged 17.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as the clear leader of Santa Rosa JC. Another pure shooter, Tyler shot over 42% from 3, and hit FT's at over 85%. Coming out of HS, Tyler was one of the most highly recruited SG's in the West, but he opted to play baseball at Arizona. After an elbow injury set him back, he refocused on basketball.. leading him to Boise State and this season.
The Broncos welcomed 3 true freshman this fall as well. True big man Kurt Cunningham
, (6'9 280lbs); PG Anthony Thomas
, (6' 190lbs), and SG Jordan Keck
, (6'2 165lbs).
Cunningham is expected to see playing time right away for the Broncos. His mix of size and soft hands make for a very intriguing prospect. Said to be an extremely good passer, Cunningham reportedly needs to get into D1 playing shape, and get a crash course in the Bronco Basketball philosophy, but the word out of the TBA is that he is expected to be the first big man off the bench for the Broncos. A huge space eater under the basket, there are very high expectations for the freshman. Now he just needs to live up to the hype.
Anthony Thomas is a man among men. Already possessing a D1 body, he excells at the speed game that the Broncos employ. In HS, Thomas played every minute of every game for a team that pressed, ran, and never stopped moving. His defense is said to be as good, if not better, than former legendary Bronco stopper Joe Skiffer
, however unlike Skiff, Thomas reportedly is a very real threat on the offensive end of the court. As a senior, Thomas averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 4.8 steals per game, while making 48 percent of field goal attempts and 38 percent of 3-point attempts. Despite his obvious talent, Thomas is expected to redshirt as he is already being called, "the future." Expect to see Thomas sit this year, then learn from ELane in preparation to take over the lead of the team as a Sophomore.
Lastly is walkon Jordan Keck. Keck hails from Idaho Falls, and is a guaranteed redshirt this season. Another pure shooter, Keck averaged 21.1 points and 3 rebounds per game, while connecting on 107 3-pointers and making 44 percent of his 3-point shots.
This Bronco squad has the potential to accomplish as much as last year's team, however the real push might be a year away still as the team loses 3 role players but will add 3 true impact players from redshirting, and has another 3 scholarships, (2 of which are already spoken for in 6'6 SG Paul Noonan
and 6'10 C/F Zack Moritz
.) The last scholarships appears headed for a Small Forward, but that's another article...
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