Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice and senior Anthony Drmic met with the media Wednesday to discuss Drmic receiving a medical hardship that will allow him to play a fifth season in 2015-16.
Drmic only played in the Broncos' first seven games this past season and had season-ending ankle surgery in January. Since he played in fewer than 30 percent of the team's games, did not play in the second half and had a season-ending injury, he fell under all the parameters to qualify for a hardship to gain back a season of eligibility, which he received Tuesday.
"Now that it's official, happy that it's done, can concentrate on rehab and get back to playing," Drmic said.
Coach Leon Rice said “I felt all along we were getting him (back), and we’d go to the Supreme Court if we didn’t.”
In his career, Drmic has scored 1,528 points, seventh-most in school history, and has averaged 15.3 points per game in the 100 games he's played. At that rate, it would take him 28 games to break the school's career scoring record of 1,944 points.
"That's a good recruit we just got," Rice said with a smile. "… now you've probably got the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year coming back, we lost the Mountain Player of the Year with Derrick (Marks), now we've got Anthony coming in next year, so you've got that experience toughness, all the things Anthony brings, probably going to be the all-time leading scorer at the school because of it."
More from today's media session:
—On the emotion of not playing while the team was doing well: "For me, it was a bit disappointing not being able to play, being such a big part of the team before I got hurt. But it was amazing to watch some of the guys go out there, the way they improved every day, every game."
—On recovery: "Ankle's getting strong, a few bumps in the road, but everything's on track right now. They told me it'd be really slow … but I don't think my brain fully understood."
—When he realized he'd be out for the season: "It sucked. My ankle's been bothering me for a long time, tweaked it again (against Saint Mary's), my back was hurt as well against Montana when I fell. I ended up fracturing something in my back. I was playing at like 50 percent, I felt like it was a disservice to the team and myself to be playing like that."
—He said one of the toughest parts was the change in lifestyle: "it was boring the first couple months because you go from such a hectic schedule."
—Drmic noted that he likely would have been able to continue playing with the back injury if the ankle also wasn't an issue. He noted that he likely would be seeking out pro opportunities in Europe or hoping to get into an NBA camp now if he had played.
—On watching Derrick Marks last season: "Watching him this season was unbelievable. Sometimes I'd just throw my hands up and go 'how?' … I definitely want to follow in those footsteps, if I can get healthy, I think it's a realistic thing."
—On approaching the school scoring record: "It's definitely realistic, but I think I cheated a little bit — I got seven extra games."
—On what he hopes to improve: "How much of a leader I need to be, watching some of those guys like Rob (Heyer) and Iggy (Hadziomerovic). … I like doing the little things.
"This offseason, I'm only going home for about four weeks to Australia … I know that's what the team needs, they need someone to be that leader, losing those guys who did play that leadership role. Come in, hopefully lead the pack and see what can happen."
—A well-known gamer, Drmic got to take a lot of time to excel at his "other" sport: "I don't know how much better I got, but I did play a lot. I couldn't do anything else — did my homework, sometimes, then just played video games."
—On the mutual decision to shelve Drmic last season: "I think he was at peace with it when he realized how much, in the long run, it could help. It was a good plan. Only Anthony knows what Anthony's going through with his ankle and his back. Everything he's done for this program, we wanted to do for him … let him play a season at full strength, because he hasn't done that very often."
—On Drmic's surgery: "That thing was just a mess. He probably would've sprained it on the way to practice and we would've lost him for the year and we wouldn't have him next year … it was 100 percent the right thing to do."
—Looking ahead to next season with Drmic in the fold: "It changes it a ton, it changes the way we're perceived, too. I'm finding that out in scheduling, some people will agree, say 'oh yeah, we'll play you.' Then they call the next day, saying 'hey you've got Drmic sitting out,' then they're gone."
—At the moment, the team has one scholarship open for next season with Drmic's return — three scholarship players graduated and the Broncos signed two high school guards (Paris Austin and Malek Harwell) in November. Rice said "there's all kinds of pools to dip into with transfers and different guys," noting the team has a strong nucleus, so it has the luxury of finding the right fit via transfer, high school or junior college. The spring signing period began Wednesday and ends May 20.
—On having to play Dayton in Dayton in NCAA Tournament: "I think we now are an answer to a Trivial Pursuit question: who is the last team to play an NCAA Tournament road game? It'll be the Boise State Broncos. I think that's where it'll end. It was kind of a loophole, kind of a perfect storm. I predict it'll never happen again."
—Speaking about Marks and the torn meniscus he played on for the Broncos' last five games: "It had a huge effect. … he was probably 50-75 percent. It put us in the position that was tough. He had 23 points in the Dayton game, but he couldn't go around guys like he'd been doing all year. Before every game, they'd drain the knee and take all this fluid out of there. That kid, he wanted to give it all for Boise State and his teammates. He wasn't about to be sidelined with it, where I think a lot of kids would've been done, especially after the year he had. They would've been done, not faced the criticism of 'he didn't finish well' but Derrick wanted to keep playing."