Boise State’s men’s basketball team has seen 10 different players lead the team in scoring this season. That may bode well for the future of a young team, but also has signified some inconsistency.
With that, it means a lineup that is ever-changing. For senior guards Wes Perryman and Tre Nichols, whose final home game is tonight against No. 21 San Diego State, it means a final season that has not been what they’d expected.
“It’s been tough,” Perryman said. “I wish it could’ve been a great senior year. It’s been pretty good still. I’ve improved a lot. I’d like to have 20 wins right now, but I feel like maybe I can be part of starting something good here.”
In fact, that discontent got Perryman benched for the Broncos’ 72-61 win at Air Force on Feb. 11 after he said his attitude was not up to par. He played in a combined 11 minutes the following two games, but recently played 41 total minutes in losses to UNLV and Wyoming.
“It hurt to have to sit,” Perryman said. “I realized I can help these young guys and try to set a better example for them down the road.”
Coach Leon Rice said Perryman got the message, and from the way the Boston native sees it, he learned his lesson. As the lone player left from the Greg Graham era, which ended just two years ago, he realizes that some of the things he has helped the young roster with won’t pay off until beyond this season.
“Some of the lessons the guys learn from them, good and bad, they carry with them,” Rice said. “When you have seniors leaving, it makes young guys appreciate what they have.”
Nichols can relate to waiting on the end of the bench for just a shot at the floor. After playing more than 20 minutes just once in the Broncos’ first 17 games, he’s eclipsed that mark seven times in the last 10 contests. In that 10-game span, he’s averaged 8.1 points per game.
“Lately, he’s really done a nice job,” Rice said. “He’s a guy that can do some things that some of our other guys maybe can’t do — he can turn the corner on people, set guys up. He has a good feel for the game and he can score in bunches.”
Nichols was the first recruit to sign with Rice, and though he’s mainly been a role player, he’s been happy with his performances when given the chance to play.
“It’s had some ups and downs, but that’s the life of a basketball player,” he said. “You’ve got to take that opportunity, and when it presents itself, make sure you’re ready.”
Looking back on one game that has stood out in his career, Nichols looks back to the Broncos’ 58-56 loss at San Diego State in front of a crowd of 12,414. He had 17 points in that game, and with the Broncos’ last home game tonight, hopes for a similar showing from himself and his teammates.
“We need to match their intensity — we can’t make a lot of mistakes in this conference, and they’ll capitalize in a heartbeat,” Nichols said. “I think we’ll be ready to match their energy, seeing it’s our last home game and last chance to give this crowd what they’ve been waiting for.”