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BOISE — What was expected became official Monday, and it’s big news for the Boise State men’s basketball team.

Forward Abu Kigab will take advantage of the NCAA’s offer at an extra year of eligibility and return to the Broncos as a fifth-year senior for the 2021-22 season.

Kigab was an All-Mountain West Second Team pick last season after averaging 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He finished second on the Broncos in points, rebounds and steals while leading the team in blocks.

“Abu’s presence has elevated this program from the day he got here,” Rice said of Kigab, who debuted with the Broncos two seasons ago after transferring from Oregon. I am thrilled he has chosen to finish what he started with us and put his trust in our program to help him reach his goals, while committing to being a part of a special team next year.

“I want to thank our administration and our supporters for stepping up and committing to the extra scholarship that will allow us to bring back a fantastic student-athlete, and for Abu to finish his college career the way he deserves.”

Kigab planned to test the NBA waters — he even went through Senior Night festivities during the final home game against Fresno State — but suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder later that night. He missed the Mountain West Tournament and Boise State’s two NIT games, and is currently rehabbing after surgery.

He started all 25 games for the Broncos prior to his injury and returns as the obvious leader — both on and off the court — for a team that loses leading scorer Derrick Alston Jr.

The NCAA gave every student-athlete an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was expected after the injury that Kigab would use the free year and come back, but it wasn’t official until his announcement Monday.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play the game I love at a high level,” Kigab said. “I would also like to thank my parents, teammates and coaching staff for always pushing me to be the best version of myself on and off the court. Lastly, I would like to thank Bronco Nation for their dedication and continuous support of the program – your spirit is felt everywhere we go!

“With that being said, I am extremely excited to announce my return to Boise State University for my final chapter of eligibility. The mission remains the same: win at all costs.”

Boise State’s projected starting lineup for next season includes Kigab, Emmanuel Akot, Devonaire Doutrive, Marcus Shaver Jr. and Mladen Armus.

The Broncos, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT for the first time in program history last month, are expected to again be among the favorites in the Mountain West Conference.

B.J. Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013 and is a three-time winner of the NSMA Idaho Sportswriter of the Year Award. He appears on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket every Friday at 4 p.m. for the Blue Turf Sports report.

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