Malek Harwell won’t finish his college basketball career in a Boise State uniform.
The Pocatello native announced Tuesday on Twitter that he plans to seek a graduate transfer after playing the last three seasons with the Broncos.
“Boise ... what can I say, you’ve given me everything a young kid could have asked for coming into his first years of college,” Harwell wrote on Twitter. “I thank the community and everyone who has ever reached out to me and helped me along the way. ... With that being said, I’m opening back up my recruitment as a grad transfer.”
Harwell redshirted for Boise State in 2015-16 following a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee. He then appeared in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17, 16 games in 2017-18 and 32 games this season. He averaged 2.2 points and 9.0 minutes per game this past season, but there was no guarantee his playing time would increase as a redshirt senior.
“Malek is one of my all-time favorites. The guy has represented us so well. He’s such a great kid, such a high-level character guy,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “Speaking to him as a dad and not his coach, I would say, ‘Let’s go play 30 minutes a game.’ And that’s the advice I gave to him.
“He’s a good player, but with what we have coming back at the wing spot ... there won’t be a chance for him to play 30 minutes a game, and that’s what he deserves.”
Harwell is on track to graduate this spring with a degree in business marketing and he told the Idaho Statesman in December he wants to get his master’s in business administration. He would have one year of eligibility remaining.
“To the coaches and staff, I thank you guys for everything that you have done for me,” Harwell wrote. “You guys have been a blessing to me and I’ll never forget everything that you gave me here at Boise.”
During his prep career at Century High in Pocatello, Harwell became the Diamondbacks’ all-time leading scorer and was chosen as the state’s player of the year by the Idaho Statesman and USA Today. He was rated the No. 1 prospect in Idaho by ESPN.com after averaging 25.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
He chose Boise State over offers from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah State and San Francisco.
With Harwell’s decision to transfer, that leaves just one former Idaho high school standout on the Broncos’ roster in redshirting freshman Max Rice, the middle son of coach Leon Rice. Max Rice joined the Broncos as a walk-on.
Harwell has not announced a transfer destination yet.
“Our staff, we know a lot of people, and I’ve already got a bunch of calls and texts, but I’m protective of Malek,” Rice said. “I want not a good situation but a great situation for him. I want him to be on a team that wins 20-plus games and he plays 30-plus minutes and he scores 15 points a game.
“That’s what I’m looking for. I sound like a dad, but I’m going to be pretty protective of that.”