No expectations. No excitement. No sense of optimism.
Unfortunately, this had been the story of Boise State men’s basketball prior to head coach Leon Rice stepping on campus in 2010.
From Rod Jensen to Greg Graham (1997-2010), the basketball program was sub par with a 251-205 record during that time.
This is a program that has been overshadowed by the football program for years, and continued to be an after thought in the minds of many Bronco fans.
Not so much anymore. Dating back to 1970, the Broncos had reached 20 wins in only seven seasons. Rice has six in his first seven years at the helm.
Although no conference championships yet, the Mountain West Conference is no slouch in basketball. In fact, you could make the case that the quality of basketball in the league is much better than the football.
Five conference tournament championships for the program. One regular season championship for Leon Rice & Co.
Two at-Large NCAA Tournament berths, and even cracking the AP Top 25, ranking number 25 in 2015 . Something almost unheard of or even a thought when discussing Boise State basketball with your buddies seven years ago. Yet, here we are.
The accolades continue. Another postseason appearance, a NIT victory for the first time since 2004. Another 20-win season, and the recruiting of quality players keeps getting better and better.
What is overlooked is some of his biggest victories have come out of conference: Creighton, Oregon, LSU and now Utah.
Leon Rice recorded his 142nd win as Boise State's head coach last night, tied for second most in school history.
— Boise State Men's BB (@BroncoSportsMBB) March 15, 2017
With all that Leon Rice has brought to this program, Bronco Nation has made strides in embracing this program more and more by the year.
Overshadowed by the football program, Rice has undeniably brought something to the ‘City of Threes’.
Expectations. Excitement. Optimism.