Sunday’s afternoon game with the New Mexico Lobos is important for the Boise State Broncos men’s basketball team for two reasons.
First, a victory moves the Broncos (18-10, 10-6) one step closer to locking up a first-round bye in the Mountain West tournament.
Second, it is the final home game for five Bronco seniors.
Most of the group has represented the blue and orange for the past four seasons. All five of these players have given their all during the time spent on campus.
The top of this list belongs to the lefty with the sweet stroke, the record-breaking Justinian Jessup. From 20-win seasons as a freshman and sophomore to a leading scorer in hard-luck junior year, Jessup has built a fine career.
Jessup has a chance at the 20-win plateau as a senior as well, a season in which he’s the second-leading scorer and set the Mountain West Conference record for career threes.
He first passed Anthony Drmic as the Bronco career leader against UNLV before passing former BYU standout Jimmer Fredette in a victory at Wyoming. Jessup now has 313 for his career and has eight games as a senior in which he’s made five 3’s or more. He’s also made 15 in his last four games, which is good because he’s trying keep Utah State’s Sam Merrill, who now has 300, from catching him.
Jessup is putting the Broncos on his shoulders the last four games, averaging 20 points per game. His 1,520 career points place him 8th-all time, 82 points behind Chris Childs.
The stats are impressive but there is no doubt Jessup would tell anyone that he couldn’t have done any of it without his teammates, including his fellow seniors.
Alex Hobbs and Marcus Dickinson
Alex Hobbs and Marcus Dickinson joined Jessup in playing as true freshman back in the 2016-17 season. Both have been contributors throughout their career.
Hobbs has been a Swiss army knife, playing well inside and out on both sides of the court. He was selected as the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore and started the majority of games as a junior, scoring 12.1 ppg and shooting 48.6 percent from the field.
As a senior, Hobbs returned to the bench just before the new year to hand over starting duties to Abu Kigab. One could have pouted and taken it to heart, but Hobbs showed his leadership by embracing his role off the bench.
This season, Hobbs is averaging 8.3 ppg, including a career-high 24 points at Wyoming. He’s been a model of consistency during his Bronco career, evident by the fact he’s nine points away from becoming the 29th Bronco to score 1,000 career points.
Jessup and Hobbs were the scorers of this group while Dickinson was the one in charge of protecting the ball. He, too, found himself in a bench role the latter half of this season.
Dickinson is averaging four points per game in 2019-20 and five for his career. But it is his ability to take care of the ball that has been impressive. In 119 career games, including a junior season which he was the primary ball handler, Dickinson has only committed 95 turnovers.
Though he doesn’t score a lot, Dickinson can do so as needed. Twice this season he had 16 in a game, including the first game with New Mexico. He was also a key factor as a freshman when scored 12 points in Boise State’s NIT win over Utah.
RJ Williams and Robin Jorch
Locking up the middle, RJ Williams and Robin Jorch have proved to be important parts of Boise State Broncos success.
Williams has had the shortest tenure of the team’s five seniors. Arriving from junior college, Williams only had two seasons with the Broncos. But he’s been a good pickup and exemplified all the qualities one looks for in a Boise State player.
Williams is averaging 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a senior, collecting double-doubles in eight games. He had 16 rebounds in a game against Alabama State.
As a junior, Williams averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds, but had some inconsistencies once conference played opened. There has been no sight of that as a senior. Williams, who is usually undersized against the other big men in the league, has played well. His 27 steals are second on the team.
Jorch has been with the Broncos the longest, first appearing as a freshman in the 2015-16 season. Jorch, who had a redshirt season last year, is a master in taking a charge. If you notice a body consistently on the floor, it’s probably Jorch.
“Always puts the program ahead of himself…”
“Values winning more than personal accolades…”
“He’s always for the right reasons…”
— Boise State MBB (@BroncoSportsMBB) February 21, 2020
Never known for his offense, Jorch has improved in that area as a senior. No longer was it simply guaranteed that if he touched the ball inside it was simply to kick it back out. There’s still a lot of that, yes, but Jorch is averaging 4.2 points and 3.1 rebounds this season.
Jorch had 12 points on 6-6 shooting against San Jose State. This is only the second time this season in which he scored in double digits.
Catch these five players and all the Boise State Broncos in action Sunday at ExtraMile Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm (MT)