Lexington, KY – Living in Kentucky it is not very often you get to see Mountain West basketball games so I was excited to see the Boise State Broncos as they took the long trip to Lexington, KY to play the Kentucky Wildcats. Coming into the game with an 8-0 record and leading the nation in scoring at 91.9 points per game I was interested in seeing Boise States exciting dribble drive offense.
Coming off of an NCAA Tournament appearance Coach Leon Rice’s team is led by the duo of 6’3 junior combo guard Derrick Marks and 6’6 small forward Anthony Drmic. Marks is a tough player out of Chicago who is an outstanding scorer averaging nearly 18 points per game. He is a strongly built guard whose strength is attacking the basket and finishing at the rim. A potential NBA prospect Marks must do a better job of getting his teammates involved and eliminate his tendency to over dribble.
Drmic is a scoring machine who has the ability to take over a game at any time. A good shooter from outside, Drmic has improved his ability to create his own shot and has developed a deceptive shot fake and consistent mid-range jumper. Drmic’s shot selection can be questionable but he can score in a variety of ways and is doing a better job of putting the ball on the floor to keep defenders honest. An Australian native Drmic probably lacks the athleticism to play in the NBA but he should have a great career overseas.
Joining Marks and Drmic on the perimeter is 6’2 senior Jeff Elorriaga who is a 3-point specialist who knocks down nearly 60 per cent of his 3-point attempts. Elorriaga is not a good ball handler and gets the majority of his 3-point looks from Marks and sophomore guard Mikey Thompson’s penetration. Thompson is a lockdown defender who gets many steals. Thompson’s decision making has improved and being on a team full of scorers he is the perfect pass first guard.
While the Broncos strength is no doubt there ability to score from the outside and their mastery of the dribble drive offense, their frontline does include 6’9, 242-pound senior Ryan Watkins. Watkins is a double – double machine and one of the better rebounders in the country at 10.4 per game. While not overly athletic, Watkins has a strong face up game and consistently knocks down mid – range shots. While he lacks a go to post move, Watkins excels in ball screen situations as he is comfortable both rolling to the basket and popping for the outside shot. With Marks and Drmic both attempting over 20 shots a game, Watkins does not get near the post touches that he should.
While Boise struggled to get open looks against a tough Kentucky team in a 70 -55 defeat, they are still one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. When Marks and Drmic are both hitting shots this team will be tough to beat . However, in order to make a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament the Broncos must be willing to defend and play with toughness. Boise State will be a fun to team to watch as the season goes on and a strong challenger to New Mexico and San Diego State for conference supremacy.
Wes Hinton is a Correspondent and Scout for NetScouts Basketball.