Both Boise State and Robin Jorch took a leap of faith this summer. The Broncos had never seen the German center in person, and Jorch had never been to Boise.
“It was one of my dreams to come to the U.S. and play college basketball, also experience life here,” Jorch said. “I looked it up on the Internet, saw it was a beautiful city and I watched some highlights on YouTube, wanted to be a part of it.”
The Broncos added the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Berlin native a week after classes began, providing a crash course in basketball and life.
“It’s a lot harder than Germany. Americans run around a lot more,” Jorch said.
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Since he arrived in Boise, Jorch has lost 25 pounds. Boise State coach Leon Rice was intrigued by Jorch’s hands and feet, both deft for a big man. Years ago, Rice coached at a clinic in Germany and has used a few of the basic terms he knows on Jorch.
“I coach him in German. I say ‘Good morning (guten morgen)’ every day,” Rice said.
Jorch initially signed with Liberty University in November of 2014, but when the coaching staff was let go after that season, he was released from his letter of intent. Flames assistant Brian Joyce, a friend of Rice’s, let him know about Jorch, who spent four years with the German national team.
After playing 54 minutes the Broncos’ first 20 games, Jorch has played 32 minutes the past three, including a career-best 14 Tuesday, when he made his first career start.
“To start, it was so exciting, a lot to think about before I went out there,” Jorch said. “I was nervous a little bit, still not quite used to crowds as big as the ones I’ve seen this year.”
In 13 games, Jorch has scored 27 points with 12 rebounds. As he has acclimated to college basketball, Jorch has earned more time, especially on a team needing some height to fend off opposing offenses.
“When you find a 6-10 guy that’s just out there, you’ve got to kind of take a hard look,” Rice said. “He passed all the tests as far as what kind of kid he was, great kid, hard worker, wants to be a good player ... a lot of qualities you want in a big man, but he’s such a great fit for a program. We couldn’t pass on him.”
Jorch said he is “starting to find (his) rhythm the last few weeks,” but hopes to be more of a rebounding force and bring energy to the floor as he gains more experience. He’s continuing to get into shape despite one of his favorite things about moving here would seem to conflict.
“Big grocery stores, it’s great. We don’t have them back home like they do here,” Jorch said.
FALCONS PROVIDE A TOUGH TEST
The Broncos’ game at Air Force on Saturday is their lone matchup with the Falcons this season. That’s not a bad thing for Rice, who often has stated how tough Air Force is to prepare for with its variation of the movement-heavy Princeton offense.
Air Force lost eight in a row before beating Wyoming on Saturday. Junior forward Hayden Graham leads the team with 14.8 points per game. The Falcons did not have sophomore guard Trevor Lyons (12.7 ppg) against Wyoming due to a hand injury. Boise State is 2-2 all-time at Clune Arena.
“They’re one of the hardest to prep for,” Rice said. “It’s a good challenge, and it’s a short turnaround because we travel out (Friday), wake up and play the noon game (Saturday).”
THOMPSON DOING IT ALL FOR BRONCOS
Senior guard Mikey Thompson has perhaps been the Broncos’ most consistent presence this season, tied for second in scoring (12.3 ppg) and leading with 98 assists. The assist total is a career high, and the 4.3 apg is the best by a Bronco since 2010-11. Thompson’s 275 assists are tied for 10th in Boise State history.
“He’s doing a great job for us, doing everything we’ve asked,” Rice said. “I’m really proud of him. You can’t ask much more from your senior than what he’s given us.”
MORE FROM HUTCHISON?
Sophomore guard Chandler Hutchison has scored 21 points in the past five games and made 10 of his past 30 field-goal attempts. He dealt with an ankle injury, but Rice hasn’t been concerned, citing the ups and downs of a long season.
Rice is hopeful he can provide big moments like he did in the first five Mountain West games, when he had 47 points.
“We could use some breakout things from him, and hopefully he can get to that soon,” Rice said.
Boise State women go for eighth straight vs. Air Force
- When: 2 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Taco Bell Arena
- Radio: KTIK 1350 AM
- Records: Boise State 15-6, 8-2 Mountain West; Air Force 0-21, 0-10
- Tickets: $6 (adults), $4 (seniors/youth)
- Notes: Boise State has won seven straight, the team’s longest winning streak since joining the Mountain West in 2011-12. ... Junior guard Brooke Pahukoa is the reigning MW player of the week after scoring 45 points in two wins. She also is No. 8 in the nation in 3-point percentage (45.8 percent). “We have an inside threat in Miquelle (Askew), Shay (Shaw) in the high post, Yaiza (Rodriguez) driving the lane, I’m wide open, and I should make them at this level,” she said. ... Air Force is being outscored by an average of 23.8 points per game.
Boise State men (16-7, 7-3 MW) at Air Force (11-12, 2-8)
- When: Noon Saturday
- Where: Clune Arena (5,858), Colorado Springs, Colo.
- TV: Root
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM