What’s Next: Plans for the Boise State men’s basketball team

Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

After wrapping up their season with a loss in the NCAA tournament, the Boise State men’s basketball team already has plans for next year. 

The Broncos had a great season despite losing in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament and losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Even after coming off the 2021-22 Mountain West Championship winning season and losing some of their most prominent players and leaders on the team, the Broncos performed better than anticipated. 

With a win over No. 18 San Diego State in late February, finishing with a 13-5 conference record (24-10 overall) and an NCAA Tournament appearance, the Broncos far exceeded expectations.

“Not to move on to next year quite yet, but we got some great guys,” head coach Leon Rice said after the loss to Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament. “We have a terrific nucleus coming back. Probably three all-league players coming back, some great freshmen players coming in. There will be some more. We’re going to be pretty special. But that’s for tomorrow.”

There is a lot of hope for the Broncos’ future, and after just a short time of concluding the season, Boise States’ men’s basketball team already looks a bit different. 

“I think my words ring true from the very start of the year – depth is going to be a major Achilles’ heel,” Rice said. “You couldn’t afford anything. Our margin for error win injuries (and foul trouble) was just so small.”

With concerns about the lack of depth on the Broncos’ roster, the scarcity of development of bench players and the majority of minutes going to just seven Bronco players, it was a sure fire sign of the lack of trust and dependability that Leon Rice had on bench players. 

When it came down to the most crucial parts of the season, the lack of depth and bench power was the biggest point of contention. 

Transferring Out

After the conclusion of the season, three Broncos — Burke Smith, Pavle Marvonovic and Sadraque NgaNga — have entered the transfer portal. 

Among the three is NgaNga, a 6-foot-10 forward from Chandler, Arizona, who was one of the top-100 recruits in the country and Boise State’s highest recruits in the history of the program

NgaNga turned down multiple offers from other schools including the University of Arizona, Auburn University, the University of Kentucky and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to come play for Boise State.

Though the freshman appeared in 17 games over the course of his first season as a Bronco, he averaged just two points on the season, with his season high coming against Eastern Oregon University, with 13 points. 

With incredibly high hopes for the highest recruit in Bronco history, NgaNga fell short of many expectations. Despite coming off an injury he suffered just before arriving to Boise, the freshman forward couldn’t produce what the Broncos so desperately needed this season: a strong player off the bench. 

As three players look to transfer from Boise State in search for greener pastures, it opens up more spots on a roster that is in desperate need of alterations. 


The Broncos have been incredibly active on the recruiting side. 

At the moment, the Broncos have signed four new players, some coming fresh out of high school, others fresh out of the transfer portal. 

Andrew Meadow, a 6-foot-6 power forward from Stevenson Ranch, California, has had high praise as he was recruited by the likes of Cal Poly, Fresno State, New Mexico and Loyola Marymount. 

New recruit Emmanuel Ugbo, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Ludwigsburg, Germany, is one of the tallest recruits for Boise State this year and adds a unique combination of size and deep shooting to the Bronco roster. 

Ugbo, boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan and can shoot out to the 3-point line. Despite only playing having played basketball since he was 14, the new Bronco seems to be a great replacement for some of those who are leaving Boise State

Another one of the new signees, Chris Lockett Jr., is a great addition to the Boise State roster. Lockett was pursued by the likes of Baylor, Georgetown and Houston. 

“Chris is a big, strong, versatile guard with a mature game,” head coach Leon Rice said. “He can do a variety of things on the court, but his best quality is his will to win – Chris is a winner. He is a great young man, and his versatility and size are going to be great fits for this program.”

Lockett was also recently awarded MaxPreps Louisiana high school player of the year, and to add onto his accolade, he was also awarded the Luisiana Gatorade player of the year

Fresh out of the transfer portal, the Broncos were able to snatch up Roddie Anderson out of UC San Diego. 

As a Triton, Anderson averaged 15.8 points a game and 3.9 assists per game, leading all freshmen in the Big West conference. He was also named as an Honorable Mention for All-Big West

The 6-foot-2 guard comes in at one of the best times possible. 

As Marcus Shaver Jr. looks towards the NBA draft and leaves his mark at Boise State, the two guards have many similarities. 

Shaver was also a transfer to Boise State, and the two guards are comparable in stature and production. 

As Anderson accumulated 27 starts as a freshman at UC San Diego, the new Bronco seems to be a shining contender for a starting spot as a Bronco.

The addition of Anderson on the Broncos’ roster is a glimmer of hope as the Broncos look towards a year of reconstructing a starting line up that lost two starters. 

The most recent of transfers comes from the University of Kansas, Cam Martin.

Martin is a former D2 All-American and 6-foot-9 Kansas transfer, he announced on April 4 he’ll play his final college season at Boise State. 

One of his biggest reasons he decided to choose Boise State is due to the acceptance of both him and his little brother, Alex, who will be a walk-on next season.

Martin chose Boise because of the capacity in which they can use him as well as the possibilities they have for the upcoming season.

The 2023-24 Season

Though it is only a short time after the loss in the NCAA Tournament, the Broncos’ future looks more promising than this last season looked in the preseason. 

The Broncos will look to go back and secure the Mountain West Conference championship and go to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.

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