BOISE — Boise State junior Anthony Drmic couldn’t remember the last time he took a summer off from basketball.

“Never,” Drmic said.

But after previous summers playing in international competition with his native country of Australia, Boise State’s leading scorer took the summer off to rest both his mind and his body.

Drmic led the Broncos with 17.7 points per game last season as a sophomore, the 10th best scoring average in school history. He was even better during conference play, leading the Mountain West with 18.8 points per game.

Following his breakout year, he elected to return home to Australia for about two months over the summer, but decided not to play with the Australian national team. Instead, he spent the majority of his time hanging out with family and friends.

He still worked out and played plenty of basketball — he trained at Andrew Bogut’s academy with a group of European players — but didn’t have to deal with the stress of playing in games or traveling like he has in the past.  

“I think my body needed it,” Drmic said. “It’s always good to get rest. Over these last three years with the world championships, I haven’t really had a chance to just chill out a little bit, so it was good to get that. It was good to see family and friends and rest up and prepare for the season.

“This time last year before the season started I still had my ankle injury, I had my appendix out like a month before, so I was unfit, and now I just feel completely different. If I can have a season like I did last year — with how I started practice feeling so terrible — and this year I feel this great. I’m just ready to go.”

The 6-6, 196-pound Drmic, who is noticeably bigger after his summer of weight lifting, scored in double figures in 27 of 32 games last season and hit at least one 3-pointer in 29 of 32 games and 19 of the last 20.

He had 20 points vs. San Diego State in the Broncos’ lone Mountain West Conference Tournament game and had 28 points in the NCAA first-round loss to La Salle, the most by any Boise State player in a non-conference tournament postseason game.

And with another year of experience — and plenty of rest — Drmic could be poised for an even bigger junior season.

“I think he knows what to expect in the college basketball season, and I think he spent a great deal of time working on his body,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “He got a little bigger and a little stronger, so you would hope that his body holds up a little better.

“Anthony plays so darn hard, and he throws his body around, and he plays a lot of minutes too. So I think he’s coming in a lot fresher than he ever has the previous two years.”

Drmic is at the forefront of high expectations for the Broncos this year after the young group earned the school’s first ever at-large trip to the NCAA Tournament last season. They are the only team that participated in last years NCAA Tournament that return all five starters.

And after a summer to get bigger, stronger and prepare for the grind of his third collegiate season, Drmic hopes to lead the Broncos to a deeper NCAA Tournament run.

“We’ve probably never had this kind of hype before,” Drmic said. “I went to Roaring Springs and 10 people were like, ‘Can’t wait for the season,’ so it’s definitely exciting. Everyone is ready to go.”

  • B.J Rains covers Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press-Tribune. He also makes daily appearances on ESPN Boise.

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