With Boise State’s array of shooters, the big man might seem out of place, but the Broncos have a few inside options.
Three to be exact.
Last season during Mountain West play, the primary lineup often utilized 6-foot-8 forward Nick Duncan at center, but that spoke to Duncan’s versatility more than a desperate move.
Sophomore David Wacker (6-10), redshirt freshman Zach Haney (6-11) and true freshman Robin Jorch (6-10) are hoping to add height and an added dimension to the lineup this season.
“We’ve got a good group of young, big guys, and they all are skilled. They all fit in our system really, really well,” coach Leon Rice said.
Wacker averaged only 6.1 minutes per game in Mountain West play, dealing with a shoulder injury, and Kevin Allen, who has transferred to Emporia State, logged 37 total minutes in MW games as a traditional center.
But getting Haney off a redshirt and the German Jorch, in addition to Wacker, gives the Broncos a trio with range and a little toughness near the basket.
“I can see us going in there rebounding a lot, getting in there, grinding and grabbing every board we can, get extra possessions,” Haney said. “We’re mobile guys, we can shoot like all the other guys we have, but we pride ourselves in bringing that dirty work.”
Though Rice and his staff are hoping the bigs can get more involved, minutes may be at a premium. Duncan likely will see a good amount of time inside, as he has greatly improved his ability to score near the basket in addition to his excellent outside shot.
On Thursday, Rice said he is considering redshirting Wacker. Jorch has a redshirt year available, while Haney used his last season.
“We’re still trying to make a decision about David, about redshirting him, but that’s still up in the air,” Rice said.
Any of the three, plus the quartet likely to log the most minutes in Duncan, James Webb III, Anthony Drmic and Chandler Hutchison, would give the Broncos the height they have lacked in the past. All are 6-6 or taller.
Of course, not always will Wacker, Haney and Jorch have to play with their backs to the basket, as they fit the versatile offense at forward and center. They can pull centers out and force them to defend the 3, leaving opponents prone to open driving lanes.
“I think any of us can play either position. Obviously Nick can, too,” Haney said. “It’s not his natural spot, so we wouldn’t mind being in there to help out, but that’s one of the best things about this team, having guys that can move around.
“We can go big, bang around in there, or we can put out a bunch of guys that can hit 3s, and a lot of times have guys that can do both.”
WOMEN SET FOR SOUTHERN OREGON
The defending Mountain West Tournament champions host Southern Oregon at 5:30 p.m. Three starters return, including guards Brooke Pahukoa (10.4 ppg) and Yaiza Rodriguez (147 assists) and center Miquelle Askew (9.2 ppg).
Sophomore forward Shalen Shaw is primed for a big role after averaging 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season, leading the team in scoring three times and rebounding six times in its final seven games.
The roster includes five true freshmen and 6-foot-3 redshirt Marijke Vanderschaaf, who missed last season with an injury.
Boise State exhibition doubleheader
▪ Women vs. Southern Oregon, 5:30 p.m. Friday; men vs. Northwest, 8 p.m. Friday (both at Taco Bell Arena)
▪ Tickets are $6 for both games if arriving before halftime of the women’s game; $9 for men’s game only.
▪ Parking is free in the west stadium lot until the women’s game begins, afterward only for permit holders. The east stadium lot is free all night.
▪ Women’s game on KTIK (1350 AM), the men on KBOI (670 AM), both streamed at BroncoSports.com