Boise State tests the waters before getting to work

ccripe@idahostatesman.comDecember 22, 2013 

HAWAII MOMENT: Boise State basketball players, from left to right, Jake Ness, Joey Nebeker and Joe Hanstad enjoy the sand and water Saturday at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

COURTESY OF BOISE STATE

HONOLULU — Athletic competition is all about preparation.

For Boise State men’s basketball star Derrick Marks, that meant refreshing a basic skill before the Broncos’ trip to the Diamond Head Classic.

Swimming.

Teammates Mikey Thompson and Thomas Bropleh took Marks to the Boise State student recreation center a couple of weeks ago for a lesson.

“Just basically telling him to get in the water and move your arms and kick your feet, and he picked it up quick,” Thompson said. “He’s a quick learner.”

Marks put his improved confidence in the water to good use Friday. The team arrived around 10 p.m. Hawaii time and immediately went to the beach.

The players got in the water again Saturday morning.

“I just had to touch up on some skills,” Marks said at the beachside Moana Surfrider, the same resort housing the Broncos football team. “I mean, I had the idea (of how to swim). … Everybody wants to go on the beach and get in the water. It was something I needed to do.”

The Broncos got a little taste of Hawaii in their first 24 hours on Oahu, including a luau Saturday night. For the most part, the rest of their fun will wait until after the final day of competition on Christmas Day. The team doesn’t leave until a red-eye flight Friday night — two days later.

Their plans are soft, but the team is expected to go snorkeling Thursday.

“It depends on the outcome of the tournament,” Marks said of his plans. “I’m not going to have fun if we don’t win. It’s going to ruin my trip.”

Added Thompson: “I just want to win the whole tournament so after that I can be able to do anything I want.”

The team practiced Saturday afternoon and will have a long wait before Sunday’s opener. The game against host Hawaii begins at 8 p.m. Hawaii time.

Players say they will be focused.

“Our intensity was there (at practice),” Thompson said. “The coaches have been pushing us all week to get us prepared. The majority of the guys, this is their first time here. They want us to stay focused on what we’re here for, and our outcome in practice was good today.”

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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