In a perfect world, Pat Dembley would have made a first impression on the basketball court and not with a police mugshot.
But in the six months since his June 3rd arrest for a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace, Dembley has done his best to show Boise State basketball fans who he really is.
First and foremost, he’s a dad.
Paris Aaliyah Rose Dembley was born at 6:10 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2018, and the 4-pound, 3-ounce little girl instantly changed the lives of Dembley and longtime girlfriend Paige Frazier.
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“It’s a blessing to have a baby girl. I love her so much,” Dembley told members of the local media on Tuesday. “It’s a different type of feeling because I just gotta look after her, and I ain’t gonna lie, she’s my world right now. I love her to death.
“... It definitely puts a lot of things in perspective, because I can’t think of myself no more. I gotta think of my family and my daughter, because I gotta provide for them. I gotta be strong for them.”
Dembley, a Minnesota native, signed with Boise State last December out of Iowa Western Community College, where he averaged 19.9 points and 4.0 assists per game as a sophomore and was named an NJCAA All-American.
He arrived in Boise on June 1 to begin summer workouts and was arrested his second night in town when Boise Police officers approached a large crowd of people and found two men — one of them Dembley — fighting in front of a business. The basketball player appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, according to the incident report.
A few days after his arrest, Dembley posted an apology to Bronco Nation on Twitter, but Tuesday was the first time he spoke publicly about the incident.
“I just want everybody to know that that’s not who I am,” Dembley said. “I want everybody to know that I’m grateful for second chances, because the coaches didn’t have to take me back after what happened. ... I definitely thought I blew it, but thanks to Coach Rice and all the other coaches. They believed in me and they put their trust in me to not (let it) happen again.”
Between basketball, school and baby Paris, there’s been little room for distraction in Dembley’s schedule, and he’s taken on a lot more responsibility than the average 21-year-old.
He’s focused on being a good example for his daughter and being a better teammate.
“He wants to do the right things. He wants to provide for his daughter and his family,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “One of the ways he thinks he can do that is (through) basketball, so he wants to put everything in it.
“He wants to get a degree so he can have that when he’s done. He’s got his priorities straight, and he’s working towards all that.”
Dembley has started three of Boise State’s first seven games — including two straight — and is averaging 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. But he also has committed a team-high 24 turnovers in Boise State’s 2-5 start going into Saturday’s home game against Central Washington (2 p.m.).
And losing isn’t a familiar feeling for Dembley, who led Iowa Western to a 25-7 record and an appearance in the Region XI championship game last season. He also won a Minnesota Class A State Championship at Minneapolis North High School in 2016.
“He takes a lot of pride in being a point guard and wanting to become a good one,” Rice said. “So going through what we’re going through right now, he’s really beating himself up about it. And he’s trying to make himself a better player. He’s trying to buy in on everything we do.”
Dembley is thankful for the second chance he received with the Broncos, and he hopes fans will extend the same courtesy to the basketball team.
The best is yet to come — on both accounts, he says.
“It’s not the start that we wanted, but we’re just getting better every day. We’re gonna work on the things that we’re not good at. We’re going to adjust,” Dembley said. “... Eventually our record’s going to come out good by the end of the year, because I believe in us. I believe in the coaching staff and I believe in all the players that we’re going to come through when it’s time to come through.”