Boise State men’s basketball associate head coach Phil Beckner is leaving the program to pursue another opportunity, coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Statesman on Friday.
Beckner has been with the Broncos the past two seasons. He was credited as a key part of Chandler Hutchison’s development into a projected NBA first-round draft pick.
“Phil did a tremendous job here, and I am grateful for all that he accomplished,” Rice said. “He’s one of the best player development guys I’ve ever been around. I think that’s kind of his calling, and he really wants to move in that direction.
“It’s a move I really support, and I am excited to see where this takes him. I think he’s going to do some great things with this.”
Beckner provided a statement to the media about his departure, but he did not say where he planned to coach next.
“This program has developed a winning culture, won at a high level and consistently graduated student-athletes. I can’t thank Leon Rice and (Athletic Director) Curt Apsey enough for the chance to coach at such a special place, while also getting to work with and learn from some phenomenal individuals,” Beckner said. “At this point in my career, I am excited to move forward with other basketball opportunities.
“There are very few times we as coaches have the chance to follow our passion and pursue things we have always wanted to. I am really looking forward to this next step but at the same time very grateful for my time spent at Boise State.”
While Beckner’s departure is a notable loss, Rice says the Broncos plan to get another assistant on board as quickly as possible.
“From the moment I got here we’ve been a player development program, and we’re going to continue to be that,” Rice said.
Earlier this season, Hutchison credited Beckner with helping him make the improvements necessary to become an NBA prospect. As an assistant at Weber State, Beckner also helped current Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard become a first-round pick in 2012.
“With (Beckner’s) basketball mind and the way that he uses his gift on how he can see things on the court that other people can’t see, he just has basically given me a plan, and I’ve trusted him with his knowledge,” Hutchison said. “... I don’t think that I’d be where I am right now if he doesn’t wind up coming here two years ago.”
In a statement from Boise State, Rice hinted that Beckner might be headed to the pros.
“He is going to accomplish some amazing things at the next level,” Rice said.