Boise State still has plenty of firepower | NevadaAppeal.com

Boise State still has plenty of firepower

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles on Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball teams. Today, the Appeal takes a look at Boise State.

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

Year in and year out, Boise State has been one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the Western Athletic Conference.

And, despite the loss of starting guards Coby Karl (14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds) and Eric Lane (9.9, 2.1), both three-year starters from an 8-8 conference team, there shouldn’t be a huge drop-off.

That’s because coach Greg Graham returns two players – 6-8 Matt Nelson (13.5, 8.8) and 6-6 Reggie Larry (14.1, 8.1) – both members of the WAC all-newcomer squad last season, and 6-foot sophomore guard Anthony Thomas, who was named the Freshman of the Year.

“I’m excited about our group,” Graham said at the recent WAC Media Day. “We have two front-line guys that did very well last year, and we have the Freshman of the Year (Thomas), who will have to assume a bigger role with the loss of two three-year starters (Lane and Karl).

“We have seven new players that I think will add to our scoring punch. Hopefully you will see us score the ball better than in the past.”

Nelson showed his toughness last year at both ends of the floor. He reached double figures in 23 of the 31 games he played, and had 10 double-doubles. He led the WAC in field goal percentage at .578.

Larry is a slasher, but with the ability to score inside and outside up to 15 or 16 feet. He was sixth in the WAC in blocked shots.

“This is the first time we’ve had two posts like this,” Graham said. “It seems like it’s been one at a time and teams can gang up on that guy. Both are experienced and have been through the WAC for a year. We should be able to score inside. It’s big for us.”

Also returning are 6-3 guard Matt Bauscher (4.5), 6-10 center Kurt Cunningham (1.5), 6-7 forward Tyler Tiedeman (4.4) and 6-1 guard Steve Tracy (0.4).

The development of Thomas is critical, according to Nelson.

“Anthony helped a lot last year,” Nelson said. “We have some good players coming in.”

Nelson is referring to 6-5 freshmen swingman Shawn Rouse and 6-7 freshman forward Paul Noonan, both of whom redshirted last season coming out of high school.

Two guards who figure to contribute right away are JC transfers Aaron Garner from Yuba College and Jamar Greene from Baltimore County Community College. Garner averaged 16.2 a game last year at Yuba, while Greene averaged 25.8 a game.

Mark Sanchez, a 6-6 power forward, transferred from Pima Community College. He averaged 19.7 a game and pulled down 8.3 rebounds a contest. He’s a 48 percent shooter from the field, and Graham hopes he can step in and contribute immediately.

•Contact DarrellMoody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281