Boise State men's basketball senior guard Derrick Marks is just about as certain a lock for the Mountain West Player of the Year award as one can get. The Broncos are in first place, and his 21.8 points per game in league play is fourth-best in Mountain West history.
Marks and four other seniors will play their last home game at 6 p.m. Saturday against Fresno State at Taco Bell Arena (ESPN3).
A key part of Marks' ascent from good player to great has been due in part to his outside shooting and his consistency. But those are a product of one thing — a more mature approach, spurred on by what could have been a hindrance, his offseason knee surgery.
"I had three years to mature, but I think it happened more this summer than all those years," Marks said. "I knew I had to get better somehow, had to do it differently."
While rehabbing, Marks worked on his jump shot constantly, trying to make 1,000 per day. He devoured game film, analyzing how opponents played him. He also took up a new hobby, reading.
"I hadn't read a whole book really until I got hurt," Marks said. "It helps me to calm my mind before a game I like learning about success, the value of working hard and building good habits, breaking old ones."
Should he become the player of the year when the coaches announce their awards Tuesday, he will be the fourth player in school history to win a conference POY award, and the first since Roberto Bergersen in 1999.
"There isn’t a lot he can’t do," coach Leon Rice said. " He has that killer mentality and that complete faith in himself to where he can go and get it done; he can go win the game."
I'll have much more on Marks in Saturday's Statesman, along with a look at the other seniors — Igor Hadziomerovic, Rob Heyer, Joe Hanstad and Jake Ness.
NEARING A SELLOUT: At 2:30 p.m. Friday, Boise State announced Saturday's game is officially a sell out to the general public, with about 300 student tickets still not claimed. The Taco Bell Arena box office will open at 1 p.m. The arena seats 12,480. The Broncos have lost once since Jan. 10, and that was against the Bulldogs, on Feb. 14.