As Boise State’s representatives at the Mountain West basketball media gathering in Las Vegas last month, James Webb III and Anthony Drmic posed for a photo in tribute to a movie made before they were born.
Webb, the Murtaugh to Drmic’s Riggs, stood akin to the famous buddy cops from the 1987 classic “Lethal Weapon.”
Despite different styles of getting the job done and different paths, the seemingly mismatched pair fits together perfectly.
Except maybe one part — the Riggs in this scenario is the one that’s too old for this ... well, you know.
“I’ll be older than half the league combined, so I better be decent,” Drmic joked in a tweet to former Wyoming Cowboy and current Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. this summer.
He’s more than decent, with 23 points in Boise State’s season opener Friday at Montana in his first game action since Dec. 6, 2014. The Aussie senior is seventh in school history with 1,551 points and on pace to set the record.
Alongside the 6-foot-6 guard/forward is the freaky athletic 6-9 Webb, an NBA-level talent who stormed onto the scene last season as a redshirt sophomore with 12.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in Mountain West play.
Two alpha dogs may seemingly butt heads, but the partnership has been just the right fit.
With a fifth-year senior and a player in his third year in the program, it’s hard to imagine the two have had little chance to play together outside of practice, but it’s true.
Drmic and Webb have not played a single minute together in a regular-season game at Taco Bell Arena.
All told, the pair has spent less than 60 minutes playing together, all in road games, a surprising fact to their head coach, but also one of enticing possibilities.
“Oh wow, now that you mention it, I am eager to see it,” Rice said earlier this month. “They’ve been really, really good together. I think they really complement each other.”
Ask Webb about how they work together, and he may as well be the yeoman pulling down rebound after rebound than the high-flying putback machine that can also hit the long-distance shots.
“I get him the ball and I go rebound,” Webb said. “He’s a better shooter, and everybody knows that. So if I have an open shot, he’s probably wide open somewhere, so I try to find him.”
Webb, and the Broncos for that matter, hope he and Drmic will log plenty of minutes together in Monday’s home opener. Last season, on a per-40-minute average, the Broncos outscored opponents 72-57 when Webb played. At Montana on Friday, Webb played just 17 minutes, fouling out with 3:37 to play and the Broncos up 67-63. They lost 74-72.
“We need to get his minutes up,” Rice said. “He’s such a big part of what we do with what he can do on both ends, we need him in there, especially against good opponents.”
Drmic is still trying to get in a groove, even with his strong start. Ankle surgery in January, then a long recovery process, has him still finding his strength.
“He’s still got a lot of rust to him,” Rice said. “... There was zero percent of me that was surprised. I even expect more from him, that’s why he’s so great because I know all the things he can do. To me, he’s about 75-80 percent, so I’m excited to see what 100 percent looks like.”
Even if they “ain’t go no choice” but to work together, the camaraderie has been natural.
“They act like brothers,” senior guard Mikey Thompson said. “It’s great to see it when you have two players that good. They might disagree some times, talk a little trash, but in the games, it’s going to help because they know they’re committed and have each others’ backs.”