The Boise State men's basketball team has picked up one of the state of Idaho's best recruits in recent years.
Malek Harwell, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound senior guard from Century High in Pocatello, verbally committed to the Broncos on Sunday night. Harwell is the first known verbal commitment for the Broncos' 2015 signing class.
Last season, he led the Diamondbacks to the 4A state championship game, averaging more than 21 points per game. He is a consensus three-start recruit according to all major recruiting services.
"It was a tough decision to make, but in the end, I always liked the staff at Boise State, and I knew it's where I wanted to be," Harwell said.
Harwell turned down more than a dozen offers, including Utah State, Toledo, Tulsa and those from his four other finalists — Colorado, Wyoming, Lehigh and San Francisco. He took an official visit to Boise last weekend, and said he made up his mind shortly after returning home.
"It was like one big family when I went," Harwell said. "Before I had knee surgery (in April), the whole staff came to my house to see me and wish me well. I knew they had my back then."
Now healed from his meniscus surgery, Harwell is hoping to finish his high school career with a state title under new coach Lester Stewart. It was a long process, as Boise State had offered him more than a year ago, but even after getting attention from other schools, the one close to home was the best fit.
With the Broncos, he is likely to play a role similar to junior Mikey Thompson, a guard who can handle the ball, but also play the off-guard spot.
"They utilize their guards well, really highlight them," Harwell said. "It means a lot being able to be a part of it at Boise State. I want to show a message that I can't wait to represent Idaho and leave a big impact."
When he announced his commitment on Twitter (where he had to keep it short for the 140-character limit, Harwell wrote: "S/o 2 God 4 this opportunity I'm blessed 2 say that I will B a Boise State Bronco & continue 2 rep the 208" and added a collage of photos of Boise and the Broncos' logo. He also quickly updated his profile to say "Boise State Basketball Commit #BleedBlue" and changed his photo to a Photoshopped version of him in a Boise State uniform.