Broncos conclude up and down season

(Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/MCT)

Believe it or not, the Boise State  men’s basketball program is headed in the right direction.

As former Michigan head coach of the iconic ‘Fab Five,’ current San Diego State Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said “You know what the best thing about freshmen is? They become sophomores.”

At the peak of his career playing career, Michael Jordan said his favorite time of the year was summer because he had time to work on his
individual game.

The Broncos will only lose two players to graduation this spring. Experience and senior leadership are major bonuses in a college basketball program, but the learning experience Head Coach Leon Rice’s young platoon has gained is something that can’t be taught. Rice needed guys who could play immediately which meant the guys this year were forced to learn on the fly.

You’re probably wondering how a team that finished 13-17 and lost in the first round of the conference tournament can  be headed in the right direction? If you watched any of the games or followed the Broncos this season, you’d have noticed progress being made almost every game, which should alleviate some of the doubts.

They took three NCAA- tournament-bound teams to the wire, which would have given them three more conference wins.

We can say could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve, but the fact is they lost those games. Now let’s fast forward to next season. A team that’s a year older and wiser, coaches included, could probably turn a couple of those L’s into W’s.

If you didn’t catch the Mountain West tournament, you probably missed one of the best conference tournaments this March. BSU again fell to SDSU, on an amazing shot by Jamaal Franklin that won the game for the Aztecs 65-62.

A majority of this past weekend’s games came down to the final minutes of play. With the Pac-12 stinking up the joint this season, it was clear the MW was, hands down, the best conference on the west coast, mid-major or not.

Next fall, Rice will finally be playing with his own cards. This means, and with no disrespect to the departing seniors, he will be coaching guys his staff directly targeted in recruiting as the cornerstone of Bronco hoops.

The major reason I think BSU will be better is because they believe in themselves. I was at every home game this season and at the post-game press conferences they all remained on the same page win or lose.

They didn’t let the blown leads get to them. The lack of support from Bronco fans who only showed up for the big games didn’t affect their
targeted path.

They hated losing, you could see it in their young faces, and when they won a few you could see the excitement.

I’m excited to see Rice get these guys to play at the highest level and see the Corral going nuts at the Bell next winter—you should be too.

About the author  ⁄ Ty Hawkins