Boise State recap: Big win for basketball team, big loss for football program

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com
© 2014 Idaho Statesman

Boise State ends two-game skid, knocks off Nevada in Reno

I called it the “biggest game of the season” for Boise State — a label that is sure to be applied to multiple games this year — and the Broncos played like it in beating Nevada, which entered the game 4-0 in Mountain West play.

Rather than have this game come down to a last-second shot (see Iowa State, San Diego State, Wyoming), the Broncos pulled away in the second half.

Boise State entered the game shooting just 17-of-58 (29.3 percent) from 3-point range in conference games. The Broncos were 9-of-20 (45.0 percent) from 3 in the victory against Nevada.

Duncan comes up big

Freshman Nick Duncan had 10 points and five rebounds (all defensive) in 20 minutes, providing a big lift for the Broncos. Duncan made two 3-pointers.

How unusual were Duncan’s five defensive rebounds? Well, the 6-foot-8 forward had just 19 defensive rebounds all season entering the game against Nevada. Duncan had 17 offensive rebounds entering the Nevada game. He had zero against the Wolf Pack.

At times, he appears to get pushed around on the defensive glass — something I noticed again last night. So I did some rebounding research. (All numbers pre-Nevada):

Rebounds per minute

Ryan Watkins, .34
Igor Hadziomerovic, .17
Nick Duncan, .15
Anthony Drmic, .14
Derrick Marks, .14
Thomas Bropleh, .13
Jeff Elorriaga, .08
Mikey Thompson, .07

Duncan’s numbers are not as out of line as I thought.

Nick Patti leaving Boise State football program

Forget about the semantics of full releases and permission to seek a transfer, the real story here is Nick Patti will not be back with the Broncos next year.

“Nick’s father contacted us and asked for permission to contact the University of Central Florida. We have granted permission for him to only contact Central Florida. Not a full release at this time,” Boise State spokesman Max Corbet wrote in a statement yesterday. “Our understanding is that Nick is not returning to Boise State.”

For the record, Boise State should grant him a full release and let him sign with any school he wishes. So should every other university with an athlete transferring.

Patti was likely to be the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback in 2014 with an open shot at winning the job in 2015.

Grant Hedrick’s emergence in the second half of the 2013 season made it likely that Patti would not get a clean shot at the job until 2015. That perhaps combined with Hedrick being new coach Bryan Harsin’s first call when he took the job, Harsin installing Hedrick as the leader at QB, Boise’s distance from Patti’s hometown of Orlando, Fla. or any number of other factors led Patti to look at transferring. Central Florida in Orlando is among his top choices, according to Boise State.

Regardless of the reasoning behind Patti’s decision, it leaves the Boise State depth chart at quarterback in tatters.

Quarterback

Grant Hedrick, Sr.
Ryan Finley, R-Fr.
Richard Hoppe, R-Fr.

Yup, that’s it. And Finley is recovering from shoulder surgery, and Hoppe was brought in to be an extra arm in practice.

The Broncos need to add two quarterbacks in this class. Can they add two high school players? Or do they have to go the junior-college route and add a veteran? Either way, adding two players is imperative.

So, too, is Finley’s health. Harsin did not commit to having Finley for spring practice during his latest interview with reporters. Spring ball could be pivotal for Finley, but he needs to be healthy.

Sports columnist Brian Murphy writes about all sports in the Treasure Valley with a concentration on Boise State football and men's basketball. Murph has been with the Statesman since 2005. You can follow him on Twitter @MurphsTurph.

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