Boise St San Diego St Basketball

Boise State guard Derrick Alston Jr. (21) gestures to a teammate during the second half of agame against San Diego State on Feb 27 in San Diego. PHOTO: AP

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BOISE – Derrick Alston Jr. confirmed Wednesday what most had long expected: his Boise State career is done.

In a phone interview with the Idaho Press, the first-team All-Mountain West selection said he would be skipping the chance at a sixth year with the Broncos to begin his professional career.

“I just feel like I’m ready,” Alton told the Idaho Press. “I feel like every year since I’ve been here I’ve continued to improve and I felt like I exhausted everything I could at Boise State. At the next level when it becomes a job, it only accelerates that growth, and when you go play pro basketball you only have a certain window of time to maximize that and I feel like this is the best time for me to go and do that.”

Alston started all 28 games for the Broncos and led the team with 17.0 points per game.

The 6-foot-9 guard finished his career with 1,479 points, good for No. 9 all-time in program history. His 11 points in his final game in a 59-56 loss to Memphis in the NIT quarterfinals edged him ahead of Chandler Hutchison’s 1,478 for ninth place.

“I was able to leave this program better than when I found it, and that was my goal,” Alston said. “I’m just thankful that I got the opportunity to showcase my talents but also who I am as a person. I grew so much not only as a basketball player but as a person. I came in as a 19-year old kid and I’m leaving as a 23-year old man.”

After the loss to Memphis Alston refused to confirm his college career was over, instead putting the focus on the team and the tough end to the season. But coach Leon Rice admitted it was time for Alston to move on and expected him to do so.

“It was kind of tough to speak about it right after the game while talking about all the emotions from a crazy season,” Alston said. “At that moment it was just kind of hard to say it.”

Most NBA talent evaluators currently see Alston as a potential late second-round pick. If he’s not one of the 60 players drafted he could sign a free agent deal to play in the G-League, or could elect to start his career overseas like his father did. Derrick Alston Sr. played two seasons in the NBA and another 16 years overseas. He’s currently the G-League coach of the New York Knicks’ affiliate.

Alston confirmed to the Idaho Press he will remain living in Boise until May and plans to graduate with a communications degree later this summer. He’s hoping the pre-draft process will be close to normal and he’ll be able to workout in person for NBA teams.

When he considered entering the NBA Draft a year ago, the NBA didn’t allow any in-person workouts or interviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m excited to face some new challenges and some different adversity again,” Alston said. “I haven’t really set any long-term goals for myself…but I’ll be ready for whatever happens.”

Alston returned to the Broncos for his senior year last season in hopes of leading the program to a Mountain West title and back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. The Broncos fell short of that, losing five of the last six games of the season.

But Alston said he had no regrets about coming back and said he was thankful for the extra year with his teammates, coaches and the Boise community. He also predicted next year’s team will reach the goals the Broncos couldn’t get to this past year.

“It’s definitely crazy to be saying I’m done,” Alston said. “But I enjoyed my time here and I felt like I made the most of it.”

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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