Back on the court: Return of the Mountain West champions

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Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

The Boise State men’s basketball team is ready to kick off their 2022-2023 season. Here’s what to expect from the 2022 Mountain West champions heading into the new season.

Despite finishing first and defeating San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game last season, the Broncos were projected to finish third in their conference in a recent preseason poll. The teams that were projected to finish ahead of them were San Diego State and Wyoming.

“I don’t really care about the preseason,” head coach Leon Rice said. “Our job is the same. We have to get better.”

The team began official practices early October and have been working on recreating a successful year.

“I love the way these guys play together. I love the way they share the ball and the way they work for each other,” Rice said. “From top to bottom, we have a group of high character guys who want to continue the success here.”

The Broncos retained ten players from last season to help win another championship. 

Three prominent returning players — Tyson Degenhart, Max Rice and Marcus Shaver Jr. — have gained plenty of attention during the offseason. 

The Broncos are looking at who will lead the team next after the departure of last year’s leader, Abu Kigab. 

“I think [the leadership role] has to be a collective effort,” Degenhart said. “It’s a group of Shaver, me and 12 [Max Rice] that have experienced the Mountain West Tournament and March Madness last year. I think it’s going to be us that have that calming factor that Abu had last year.”

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[Boise State MBB player Marcus Shaver Jr. and Prairie View A&M MBB player Jawaun Daniels collide while they fight for their place in victory.]
Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

The roster now includes two transfer students: Chibuzo Agbo, a junior guard from Texas Tech University, and Mohamed Sylla, a senior center from University of Detroit Mercy. 

Boise State also landed three new freshmen: Sadraque Nganga, Kade Rice and Jace Whiting. 

Nganga is the Broncos highest-ranked recruit in program history. The four-star recruit turned down offers from schools such as University of Arizona, Auburn University, the University of Kentucky and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

“I have a vision of where [Nganga] is going to end up, and that is a high, high, high expectation,” Rice said. “But it does take time and development … it is a huge jump to play at this level.”

The Broncos open up their season with an exhibition game against Carroll College at ExtraMile Arena on Nov. 1. 

Bronco Athletics made admission and parking free for this game as a way to thank Bronco Nation for their support last season.

Some other noteworthy games will be against Washington State at the Idaho Central Arena on Nov. 12.

Throughout their season, the team will also face Texas A&M, San Diego State, Saint Louis, University Northern Las Vegas, Santa Clara, Eastern Oregon and many more. 

The Mountain West Conference tournament will be held on March 8 to March 11 in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center. 
You can find the entire schedule here.

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