One day after it was reported that Boise State head coach Leon Rice interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Washington State, which is his alma mater, the Mountain West school did what it took to make sure the coach would remain in Boise.
Boise State announced Saturday afternoon that the school and Rice have come to agreement on a raise of $100,000 to his base salary for the 2014-15 season. And in the four years that follow, Rice will receive a 3% raise in each campaign. With guards Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks both expected back for their senior seasons, keeping Rice ensures that the nucleus will remain intact for next season.
“I am really excited for the future of Bronco basketball,” Rice said in the release. “There has been a great commitment to grow this program. There’s a commitment from our administration, our student-athletes and our fans. That’s what has me looking forward to continuing to build what we have here at Boise State.”
In four seasons at Boise State, Rice has a record of 77-54 and has won at least 20 games in each of the last two seasons. He’s the second Mountain West coach to receive a new contract after interviewing for a job, with UNLV’s Dave Rice in line to receive an extension through 2019 after speaking with USF about its vacancy.
Boise State will need to account for the graduation of three members of its rotation, with guards Thomas Bropleh and Jeff Elorriaga and forward Ryan Watkins all out of eligibility. Watkins, who averaged 11.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game and was a second team All-Mountain West selection, is the most notable personnel loss of the three.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.