Boise State mens basketball senior Ryan Watkins posted one of the best seasons ever by a Bronco, and that has him in contention for first-team all-Mountain West honors.
The conference will announce its yearly awards at approximately noon Monday. Three Broncos have been first-team all-conference picks in the past nine seasons, most recently in 2011 (LaShard Anderson, WAC).
Watkins and juniors Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks are the Broncos all-conference nominees. Drmic and Marks were second-team picks last year. Watkins is also up for all-defensive team considerations, while senior Thomas Bropleh is a contender for sixth man of the year honors.
In 18 conference games, Watkins averaged 13.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per gmae. His rebounding average tied the conference record, set by Utahs Andrew Bogut in 2004-05. On the season, Watkins is averaging 11.9 ppg and 10.9 rpg. He is the first Bronco since 1971-72 to average a double-double, and his 158 offensive rebounds are tied for 12th-most in a season by a Division I player since 1996-97.
Bropleh has a strong shot to be honored after averaging 9.2 ppg and 3.4 rpg in conference games. He had 13 or more points in seven of the last 10 games.
MARKS ON THE SPOT: For the first time in his previous 74 games, Marks did not start in Saturdays 64-61 overtime loss at Air Force. He played 15 minutes in the first half, scoring two points and missing both free-throw attempts. He did not play in the second half. After the game, on his postgame radio show, coach Leon Rice had a bit of a challenge for his second-leading scorer.
Derricks got to step this up. Hes got to step it up defensively; hes got to have a better idea of what were doing sharing the ball, Rice said. Derricks a great kid, a great teammate, and hes going to correct it because we need him.
SIGNEES FINISHING STRONG: Boise State signees David Wacker and Chandler Hutchison, who will join the team next season as freshmen, had big games Saturday in championship game appearances.
Wacker and Converse Judson High lost 57-45 to Galena North Shore in the Texas 5A state championship, while Hutchison and Mission Viejo High lost 54-46 to Long Beach Poly in California's Southern Section Division 1AA championship. Hutchison and the Diablos begin state tournament play Wednesday.
In the losses, Wacker, a 6-foot-9 forward, had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Hutchison, a 6-7 guard/forward, had 27 points.
FAMILIAR FACE: Boise State opens Mountain West Tournament play at 8 p.m. Wednesday against San Jose State (7-23, 1-17), coached by former Boise State assistant Dave Wojcik, in his first season with the Spartans.
The Broncos beat the Spartans 76-55 in Boise on Jan. 25 in their only meeting this season. Boise State has one conference tournament win since the 2008 WAC Tournament.
The MW Tournament games will stream live on IdahoStatesman.com