Idaho junior Stephen Madison has spent much of his basketball career just out of the spotlight.
He spent three years at tiny Prairie High in Washington. As a senior, Madison played at Jefferson High in Portland, where his team won a state title and he led the team in scoring in the state tournament. But Madisons teammates were Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross, highly touted recruits who are now in the NBA.
With the Vandals, Madison has played in all 75 games over the past three years. His scoring average jumped a WAC-best 8.4 points from his freshman year (3.7) to his sophomore season (12.1), but he was overshadowed by teammates Deremy Geiger and Kyle Barone.
Now Madison a 6-foot-5, 205-pound forward has found his way into the spotlight. He leads Idaho (4-5) in scoring at 16.3 points per game entering Thursday nights rivalry game with Boise State (7-2) at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
He has a very good feel for the game. He can do a lot of things, Idaho coach Don Verlin said.
Madison, fifth in the WAC in scoring, is second on the team in rebounding (5.3 per game) and third in assists (2.4 per game). He leads the team in field goal attempts and is second in 3-point attempts and free throws.
Rebounding and assists, the more I can do with those, the more I can do for my team, Madison said.
His play has been a key this season with team results often mirroring his personal stats.
In Idahos four wins, Madison is averaging 20.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists, and shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.
In Idahos five losses, Madisons numbers are much lower. He is averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor and 19.0 percent from 3-point range.
Hes a really good scorer and has had some really big games for them. Hes just a guy that continues to improve and is doing a great job of becoming a really well-rounded player, Boise State coach Leon Rice said.
While the Broncos have enjoyed a hot start to the season, Idaho has been struggling with injuries and inconsistent effort. Verlin said the team has played below average so far.
Idaho has losses at New Mexico, Washington State and UTEP, and is still trying to settle on its point guard rotation. The Vandals have won three of their past four games with victories against UC Davis, Eastern Washington and Walla Walla. Madison had 29 points in 42 minutes in the overtime win against Eastern Washington.
We havent played our best basketball by any means. Were still a few weeks away, Verlin said. Were three or four weeks from playing really, really good. I know our guys are going to be ready to play.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph