When Anthony Drmics 10-year-old niece visited him over the holidays, they spent hours playing Wii.
Not once in all those hours did the ultra-competitive Drmic let Isabella win a game of Super Smash Bros.
She refused to stop playing until she beat me, said Drmic, the second-leading scorer for Boise States mens basketball team. I never let her beat me. Im trying to get her to be competitive as well.
Drmic and the Broncos (14-4, 2-2 Mountain West) visit Nevada (10-8, 1-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
That competitive streak is one of Drmics biggest strengths. In the Broncos 74-67 victory against Fresno State on Wednesday, it was Drmic who made the games biggest shots. He scored seven consecutive points late in the game a game-tying 3-pointer, game-tying free throws and a go-ahead drive.
I hate losing, said Drmic, a 6-foot-6 sophomore wing. As a competitive person, I love being in those positions to hit a shot or make a game-winning play.
Drmic, whose family is from Croatia, was born in Australia as the youngest of five children. An older brother, Frank, was one of the top junior players in Australia and played professionally in Europe and Australia. Drmic picked up the game at age 4.
It didnt take long for him to establish his style of play.
Hes just been a competitor his whole life, said Boise State teammate Igor Hadziomerovic, who played against Drmic in Australia as youngsters and with him on the countrys U-19 team. Hes gritty. He never gives up. Hes always ready to go.
Said Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich: He plays so hard.
That style Drmic is often hitting the floor, drawing charges and flailing about on the court can also infuriate opponents. New Mexico coach Steve Alford complained about Drmics penchant for drawing charges by hitting the ground. Hadziomerovic said Drmics stray bumps and elbows are effective at frustrating foes.
He always tries to get you with a cheap shot here and there and get under your skin, Hadziomerovic said. He makes it so subtle that the refs cant see.
And this is a toned-down version, Drmic said. As a younger player, he would trash talk consistently, constantly annoying foes, but also drawing the wrong kind of attention to himself.
Ive pulled back a lot. Back in Australia, I used to be one of the most annoying players to play against. I used to be a lot worse, he said. I didnt want to be known as that player.
Hed rather be known for his shot-making.
Armed with a quick, high release, Drmic is 22nd in the country in 3-point percentage (43.9). As long as his feet are set, he doesnt need much room to squeeze off a shot.
In the Mountain West, I cant expect to have the time to get off a shot, said Drmic, who is averaging 15.9 points per game.
Drmic has also expanded his game, getting to the basket more often and defending bigger players in the post. Last year, 61.8 percent of his attempts were from 3-point range. This season, its down to 57 percent. Against Fresno State, Drmic drove to the left side of the basket for the go-ahead shot with 69 seconds left.
It was a winning play from a player who cant stand losing. Whether its a college basketball game or a friendly Wii game.
Thats how hes wired. Thats probably the best asset he brings to this team. Hes tough enough, Boise State coach Leon Rice said. Thats why you want him shooting shots at the end of the game because hes tough enough mentally to make them.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph