Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice said he couldn’t wait much longer, much to the chagrin of the night owl media.
Rice and his Broncos got the 2015-16 season started in earnest Friday with a 6:30 a.m. practice, the first official one of the fall. The team is allowed 30 practices over the next six weeks. The season opens for the defending Mountain West regular season champions Nov. 13 at Montana. It is the most athletic team Rice has put together, and he said one of the big challenges will be finding the right combination of those players to be effective throughout the game.
“There’s a bunch of talent everywhere, we have multiple guys that can play multiple positions,” junior forward James Webb III said.
Webb (11.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is one of the Broncos’ marquee returners, along with fifth-year senior Anthony Drmic (1,528 career points). As the next six weeks progress, and even into the season, Rice wants to see who will rise to their level, perhaps finding someone with a meteoric ascent like Webb’s along the way.
“I’m kind of excited to see who is going to do that this year,” Rice said.
The first practice saw a lot of potential from the likes of freshmen Paris Austin and Malek Harwell, along with some nice moments for vets like junior forward Nick Duncan. It also featured a rare sight — Drmic participating fully and getting ever closer to being completely healthy for the first time in a long while. The Aussie earned a redshirt last season after he had season-ending ankle surgery, playing in only seven games.
“Just happy to be out there playing basketball again, it’s been a long process with the recovery ... I’m nearly there,” Drmic said.
Drmic said he had some complications that stemmed from the ankle surgery, but is past them and well on his way back to play in the opener. Check out video interviews with him, Webb and Rice below, along with some highlights.
Also of note, senior guard Mikey Thompson did not practice because he recently had his knee scoped, which should keep him out a few weeks, though he is still expected to play against Montana. Associate head coach Jeff Linder is taking a temporary leave of absence for health reasons, and during so will be replaced by director of basketball operations Isaac Williams, a former head coach at Eastern Oregon. The Broncos have a volunteer coach this season in Mike Terpstra, an NNU grad who spent the past two seasons on the Oklahoma City Thunder staff.