The Boise State men's basketball team saw its season come to a close Wednesday in Dayton in about as tough a fashion imaginable — nearly winning in Dayton's home arena, nearly getting the Broncos' first NCAA Tournament win, losing on a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left.
But don't think for a second the season was a disappointment. Despite losing top scorer Anthony Drmic in December, the Broncos rattled off 15 wins in their last 18 games. They ended home winning streaks of 29 (overall) at San Diego State and 33 (nonconference) at Saint Mary's. They ended an 0-18 all-time mark at Utah State.
Looking ahead, the Broncos lose five seniors, including two starters (Derrick Marks and Igor Hadziomerovic) plus clutch play machine Rob Heyer off the bench. But next season's team may be just as good — Drmic is expected to return, Nick Duncan will again be a 3-point threat, and athleticism will be more prevalent as Montigo Alford, James Webb III and Chandler Hutchison have a year on the floor with the Broncos under their belts. Here is what the 2015-16 roster looks like at the moment
G/F Anthony Drmic (6-6, 204): Averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg before season ended following Dec. 6 game at Saint Mary's; applying for medical redshirt, which he likely will receive. His grittiness will help make up for Heyer's loss, while his scoring will help absorb Marks' departure.
C Kevin Allen (6-11, 250): Played in 21 games, scored 74 points and shot 63.8 percent. If he can be more consistent in practices, could be a matchup problem for a lot of teams.
G Mikey Thompson (6-4, 179): A slasher who struggled mightily in the second half (shot 28.7 percent in MW play), he had 7.6 ppg on the year. If he plays more like he did as sophomore, will be offensive presence off the bench or as possible starter again.
G Montigo Alford (5-9, 164): His 11 points against Dayton showed his capabilities. He can shoot from outside, but also has ability to distribute, which is likely a skill he will need to foster in offseason.
F James Webb III (6-9, 202): Had an outstanding first season with the team, averaging 11.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg. As he adds strength, should improve his post presence while being a shooting threat, rebounding demon and a highlight-reel presence.
F Nick Duncan (6-8, 245): When he was on, Boise State rarely lost — he was 14-of-54 from 3-point range in losses (25.9 percent) and 65-of-144 (45.1 percent) in wins. His size will allow versatility, if centers still need time to grow, he can handle guarding bigger players while testing them with his 3-point range.
G Dezmyn Trent (6-4, 206): Only played in 11 games, scoring 39 points. He did not play in 15 of the last 16 games, and with incoming guards, could be an odd man out in the Broncos' lineup.
G Chandler Hutchison (6-7, 190): Showed flashes of big-time potential while also showing he's still a youngster, often in the same game. Started the last 18 games, gaining valuable experience while averaging 15 minutes in those contests. With more strength and improved jump shot, he could be in line for a big bump in scoring after showing a knack to getting to the basket.
F/C David Wacker (6-10, 238): Had 64 points in 29 games, averaging 8.9 minutes per game. A very smart player, he sometimes put too much pressure on himself. As he matures, he'll be a team leader and add height the Broncos have lacked.
G Chris Nealey (6-2, 202): A walk-on who could help fill in the "grit" role that Heyer occupied. Played in seven games, netting three steals in 19 minutes. A solid chemistry guy off the floor.
F Zach Haney (6-11, 232): Lanky, but with some range. Haney redshirted the 2014-15 season and next season could give the Broncos three players 6-10 or taller. He seems to have put on some solid weight, which will help him get time.
G Paris Austin (5-11, 160): A very intriguing prospect who signed in November. Playing for one of the best high school teams in the nation, he's shown an ability to score in bunches while being a true point guard. He should push for time immediately, and could help create shots for the likes of Webb and Duncan. And expect him to be a much better lobber than what the Broncos have — alley-oops to Webb?
G Malek Harwell (6-4, 175): Even with teams keying in on the Century High standout, he had a monster year, averaging 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game entering the state tournament. He'll be a versatile guard who can move around as needed. He's gotten stronger since signing in November, and his shot has improved — he's the sort of player who can get to the rim at will at the high school level, no doubt something he will hope to bring to Boise State.
The Broncos lose three scholarship players and with the November signees, still have one potential scholarship to give in the spring. Last year, they signed three players in the spring period — Alford, Allen and Haney.