LAS VEGAS – Coach Leon Rice doesn’t appear to be the only one excited about the prospects of the Boise State men’s basketball team this year.
The Broncos were picked to finish second in the Mountain West preseason poll in a voting done by media that cover the league. The results were announced Thursday morning in conjunction with the start of Mountain West Men’s Basketball Media Day at Resorts World in Las Vegas.
“I think they are going to be terrific,” Colorado State coach Niko Medved said of the Broncos.
San Diego State, which advanced to the national title game last season, was picked to win the league. The Broncos received four first place votes and came in second, while New Mexico was third, Nevada was fourth and Colorado State was fifth.
Boise State forward Tyson Degenhart was picked to the Preseason All-Mountain West team, but lost out on preseason Player of the Year honors to Isaiah Stevens of Colorado State.
The Broncos are coming off a 24-10 season and a second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Boise State returns three starters including Degenhart, Max Rice and Chibuzo Agbo.
Coach Leon Rice returns for his 14th year with the Broncos.
“I have an unbelievable amount of respect for his teams,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said. “The way they play together, they share it – they are an incredibly hard scout because of how well they play together.”
The Broncos got plenty of love in the preseason poll and from the players and coaches in attendance Thursday. But that doesn’t mean everything is perfect already.
“Our offense is ahead of our defense right now and we’ve won a lot of games with our defense,” Rice said. “Coach Duryea (offense) is a little happier than coach Burns (defense) right now, so that’s a sign. But we’re a pretty hard team to guard and we’re guarding each other.”
One thing Rice knows? His team will once again be tough.
“We’re going to be gritty,” Rice said.
Bronco Nation News did 16 live interviews and was on the air for more than three hours on Thursday. Watch the interviews and coverage here: