Boise State basketball true freshmen are adapting quickly

Nick Duncan and Dezmyn Trent have double-digit scoring efforts already.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comNovember 19, 2013 

  • Tickets: $8-$11.75 plus fees; Taco Bell Arena box office or via phone (426-4737)

    Series: Boise State leads 1-0. BSU won first meeting 87-64 on Dec. 2, 2012, in Seattle.

    Notable: Seattle's only loss came to Washington on Nov. 10. The Redhawks won three days later, 75-71, against Cal State Fullerton, closing on a 24-6 run.

— Nick Duncan and Dezmyn Trent have a luxury no other true freshmen have experienced in Boise State coach Leon Rice’s tenure.

This season is the first in which true freshmen can learn from teammates who have played only under Rice, who will coach his 100th game with the Broncos on Tuesday against Seattle.

Duncan and Trent have shown early promise in the first two games. Their quick adaptation has been assisted by the Boise State veterans who are immersed in Rice’s system.

“I credit our team for that,” Rice said. “I told these veterans that these young guys are going to be coached a lot better than they were, because you guys get to help coach them. When you’re putting in your system, nobody knows what you’re doing.”

In last Friday’s 110-53 victory over Simpson, Duncan had 14 points and four rebounds, while Trent had 13 points against UT Arlington on Nov. 8.

Duncan has appeared earlier in both games, due in part to his wealth of experience. He spent the summer representing Australia at the U-19 world championships. Rice calls him a “veteran rookie.”

Duncan also is a versatile forward at 6-feet-8. He plays the same position as 6-2 shooter Jeff Elorriaga, but he can spell Ryan Watkins inside. He has made 5-of-7 3-pointers.

“When you watch that stroke, it’s about as legit as you can have,” Rice said. “The more reps he gets, the more confident he’s going to get, and our guys have already figured him out, that he’s going to make those.”

Though veterans are ahead of him, Duncan still hopes to be able to spell them and provide a different look when he’s on the floor, whether as a big shooter or a forward who can stretch a defense.

“I know Jeff plays a lot of minutes during the season, and hopefully I can come on … and play some big minutes,” Duncan said.

The 6-4 Trent averaged 26.9 points per game last season as a high school senior in Tacoma, Wash. With a build similar to junior Derrick Marks, Trent has flashed a strong offensive game with 20 points in 36 minutes. He also has 10 rebounds.

With plenty of experienced guards, the Broncos can ease Trent into the rotation, allowing him to develop a better feel for the college game.

“He’s got good instincts and the natural scoring ability. … With him, experience is really, really important because he doesn’t have any idea what we’re doing in our system yet, compared to what the other guys have a feel for,” Rice said.

While the freshmen are experiencing something new, even Rice has that feeling, now that he can go eight or nine deep each night.

“We’re going to need them, and it just gives us more options, which we may not have had in the past,” he said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

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