Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bronco Seniors Have Led the Boise State Basketball Team To Unprecedented Success

Senior Night is always a memorable evening.  Tonight, prior to tipoff against Nevada, Boise State basketball fans will salute four seniors responsible for recording the most victories in a four-year period (86) in school history (all photos by Brian Losness, USA TODAY Sports).

Anthony Drmic

His natural ability, assortment of skills, basketball intelligence and all-out hustle have made #3 a huge crowd favorite in Boise.  His achievements have made him one of the top basketball players ever to put on a Bronco uniform.

As a freshman, Drmic introduced himself to the Boise State faithful by exhibiting an amazing assortment of skills that gave a hint that he was going to be a special player.  He started 29 games, second-most by a Bronco freshman since 1977-78.  Drmic led Boise State with 12.0 points a game, the third-highest mark by a freshman in school history.  Anthony also pulled down 5.0 rebounds per game to lead the team, fourth all-time for Bronco freshmen. 

Drmic scored 20 or more points three times, and led the Broncos in steals 10 times, in scoring nine times, in assists seven times and in rebounding six times.  He set a school record for the most three-pointers by a freshman (57) to rank sixth in the MW.  Anthony also ranked amongst Boise State’s all-time freshman leaders in assists (fifth with 60), steals (fifth with 33) and free-throw percentage (seventh with 73.4%, 69-94).  Drmic earned Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year and honorable Mention All-Mountain West. 

Drmic started all 32 games as a sophomore, earning All-Mountain West Second Team honors.  Anthony led Boise State with 17.7 points a game, tied for the 10th-highest in Boise State single-season history, and his 18.8 points a game during the conference season led the league.  Drmic finished with 565 points, sixth-most in Boise State single-season history.  He finished the season with 16 games in which he scored 20 or more points.  

Anthony scored 17 points in Boise State’s 83-70 win over #11 Creighton, the highest-ranked opponent the Broncos have ever beaten.  Drmic scored a career high 34 points against LSU, and finished the year with a 28-point performance against LaSalle in the NCAA Tournament, the highest-scoring game by a Boise State player in the postseason.  Drmic was second on the Broncos with a 4.6 rebounding average.

Drmic was second in the MW in three-point field goal percentage (39.2%), and his 80 three-point field goals are tied for the fifth-most all-time at Boise State for a single season.  Drmic connected on 115-of-148 free throws (77.7%) to rank sixth in the Mountain West, and his field goal percentage (46.4% on 185-399) ranked fifth in the conference. 

Drmic started 31 games the following season and led Boise State with 15.9 points per game, eighth in the Mountain West.  In doing so, Drmic became just the third Bronco all-time to lead his team in scoring three times.  During the season, Anthony became the 23rd Bronco to score 1,000 career points, achieving the milestone at New Orleans.  Drmic led the Broncos in scoring 13 times, scoring at least 30 points twice and 20 points seven times.  He matched his career-high with 34 points in a season opening win over UT Arlington.  Drmic led Boise State with 18 points at #10 Kentucky, including 13 in the first half, and poured in 30 points against South Carolina. 

Drmic joined Derrick Marks as the fourth and fifth Broncos to score at least 500 points in a season twice.  Drmic’s 565 points in a season are the third-most in school history behind Roberto Bergersen’s 582 in 1997-98 and Tanoka Beard’s 566 in 1992-93.  At the conclusion of the season, Drmic was named to the USBWA All-Disrict VIII Team, and the All-Mountain West Second Team. 

After an ankle injury sidelined Drmic seven games into what was going to be his senior year, he was granted a medical hardship to play another season. 

Although the ankle injury (and subsequent nerve damage to his calf) hampered Anthony for most of his senior season, he played through it, helping the team in other ways that may or may not show up in box scores:  knowledge of the Bronco offense, helping teammates with their games, making precise passes and getting key rebounds and providing an immeasurable amount of leadership.  Drimic’s role has included, after setting the school record for starts, coming off the bench to provide an instant spark for his team.

Drmic has added seven 20-point games in 2015-16.  He had 24 points against Portland, including eight in a 10-0 Bronco run that broke open a tie game in the final minutes of a Boise State road win.  Anthony led Boise State with 19 points in a win over Top 25 Oregon.  He scored 21 against Colorado State, including two game-clinching free throws in the final seconds.  Drmic is averaging 13.3 points per game this season, second on the Broncos.  He also is averaging 4.26 rebounds a game and has 38 assists and 26 steals.

In his spectacular Boise State career, Drmic has scored 1,895 points, a 14.8 average at Boise State., and is averaging 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and .9 steals per game.  He is shooting 43.2% from the floor (614-1,421), 76.0% from the free-throw line (396-521) and 35.3% from three-point territory (271-767).  Drmic recently set a school record in three-pointers and he now has 271.  

To put Drmic’s career in perspective, he is 32 points away from Steve Connor (1974-1978) for second in career scoring and is 49 points behind all-time leader Tanoka Beard (1989-1993).  Connor was drafted by the Washington Bullets of the National Basketball Association and Beard is widely regarded as one of the top American players in the history of the EuroLeague, earning Most Valuable Player in his conference six times and being named to the All-Time All-American Overseas Team by 

Drmic ranks fourth in school history in field goals (614), second in field goal attempts (1,421), fourth in free throws (396) and fourth in free throw attempts (521).

But Drmic’s value goes far beyond scoring.  Drmic joins Beard as the only two Broncos to rank in the all-time Top 10 in both scoring and rebounding (Beard is sixth in career rebounding and Drmic is eighth.)  It is often said that the best players make those around them better, and Drmic has certainly done that.  Drmic has consistently looked to set up his teammates for open shots, especially this year, as his 240 career assists attest (#17 all-time). 

In addition, Drmic has 120 career steals to rank #17 at Boise State, 12 shy of #10 Rawn Hayes (1981-84).  Drmic is the only player in Boise State history to rank in the all-time Top 20 in points, rebounds, assists and steals. 

Montigo Alford

Alford came to Boise State from the College of Southern Idaho, one of the nation’s leading junior college programs, and the former Golden Eagle has helped the Broncos soar to new heights with his floor leadership, timely three-point shooting and uncanny leaping ability. 

Last year, Alford played in 30 games.  He scored 10 points and dished out a team-leading three assists in his debut against San Diego, blocking a three-point attempt with 17 seconds left.  Montigo scored five points in a win at #22 San Diego State and scored 11 points in 23 minutes against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament to become the third Bronco to score double figures off the bench in an NCAA Tournament game.

This season, Alford is averaging 3.9 points, has hit 16 three-pointers and has posted 40 assists, 14 steals and three blocked shots.

In his two-year Bronco career, Montigo is averaging 4.1 points and .95 rebounds a game, and has totaled 78 assists, 27 steals and seven blocks.

Lonnie Jackson

Lonnie Jackson finished his Boston College career as one of the top 10 three-point shooters in school history (175 career three-pointers), and Boise State has been fortunate to witness his talents this season.  Jackson immediately fit in with the Bronco team, and his leadership and maturity have been a key part of Boise State’s 19-win season.  Jackson has scored in double figures five times, including a 19-point performance against Willamette that featured five three-pointers.   

Jackson made multiple three-pointers in six consecutive games earlier this season, and led the Broncos with 19 points against Willamette, including five three-pointers.

Jackson is fifth on the team with 7.0 points per game and is hitting 72.0% from the free throw line and a phenomenal 40.3% from beyond the three-point arc.  Jackson also has 55 rebounds, 47 assists and 12 steals.

Mikey Thompson

In most past seasons in Boise State basketball history, the team has lacked a point guard that could drive to the basket.  Thompson has been one of the best penetrators in school history, able to beat his man one-on-one repeatedly to score baskets and get to the free-throw line, and has added intelligent rebounding positioning and timely three-point shooting to the position. 

After redshirting during the 2011-12 season, Thompson played in 30 games as a freshman and started six games.  Mikey was fifth on the team in scoring at 7.9 points a game and scored in double figures in 11 games.  Thompson dished out 41 assists, the 10th-most by a Bronco freshman in school history. 
Thompson played in 33 games as a sophomore with 12 starts.  Mikey posted 13 games scoring in double figures and finished the season with 81 assists, second on the team.  He finished the season averaging 8.6 points, 2.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and .6 steals a game.

Thompson started 20 games as a junior to help Boise State to a 25-9 record.  He came off the bench at Loyola Marymount to tie for team-high scoring honors with 15 points, including six straight in a 12-0 run that brought the Broncos back from a late-game deficit.  Thompson had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists at #3 Wisconsin, and led the Broncos with 20 points at Colorado State. 

After undergoing offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, Mikey saved his best season for last, scoring in double figures 20 times while making 20 starts.  Mikey scored 12 points along with seven assists at #12 Arizona and scored 17 points and handed out eight assists versus #3 Michigan State.  Thompson converted the game-winning three-point play against Loyola Marymount and had 11 points and four assists in a victory over Oregon.  He had a season-high 18 points, six rebounds and three steals and a career-high nine assists in Boise State’s win over Colorado State.  Thompson led Boise State with 17 points and added six assists and six rebounds in a Bronco road victory at Utah State, and contributed a team-high 18 points in a win at Nevada. 

Thompson is third on the Bronco team with a 12.4 scoring average while averaging 2.9 rebounds.  Mikey has 113 assists to lead Boise State against 60 turnovers and also has 34 steals to his credit.  Earlier this season, Thompson became the 26th Bronco to top 1,000 career points and he now ranks 15th with 1,117.  He is nine points behind John Coker (1991-95) for 14th and is 126 behind #10 Vince Hinchen (1981-84).

Thompson ranks 10th in school history in career assists with 290, eight behind 39 Bryan Defares (2000-04).  With a long history if icing games at the charity stripe, Thompson ranks ninth in career free throws with 333 and eighth in career attempts with 432.  Mikey is also 20th in career field goals with 355 and 15th in field goal attempts with 843.

In Thompson’s remarkable four-year career, he is averaging 9.1 points, 2.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds and .7 steals per game. 

These four outstanding Bronco seniors have already catapulted Boise State to unprecedented success, three wins shy of ranking in the Top 50 in the country for wins in four years.  The four seniors are one win away from helping Boise State to its fourth consecutive 20-win season for the first time in school history. And the Broncos still have the team goal of winning the Mountain West Tournament and winning in the NCAA Tournament.

So there’s unfinished business that lies ahead for these seniors and the Boise State basketball team.  But we’ll still be there to salute them for what they’ve accomplished thus far.

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