The Boise State Broncos men’s basketball team is set to embark on a foreign tour to Canada, where they will participate in a three-game swing through Vancouver and Kamloops.
This exciting trip will see the Broncos facing off against three up-and-coming Canada West schools: Trinity Western Spartans, Fraser Valley Cascades and the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack. As the team looks to build on their recent success and prepare for the upcoming season, this tour presents a valuable opportunity for international experience and team bonding.
Past success in Canada
The last time Boise State made their way to Canada was sixteen years ago under the guidance of former head coach Greg Graham. During that visit, the Broncos showcased their dominance with two blowout victories, defeating Trinity Western by 31 points and Fraser Valley by an impressive 41-point margin.
However, their winning streak was halted by a formidable UBC Thunderbirds team, who handed them a 20-point defeat. Despite the setback, that season proved to be one of the best in Coach Graham’s tenure, as the Broncos finished with a remarkable 25-9 record, claiming the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Regular Season and Conference Tournament titles, and securing a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Continued success under Coach Leon Rice
Under the guidance of coach Leon Rice, the Boise State Broncos have made great strides in their program’s success. Since leaving the WAC in 2011, they have secured their first Mountain West Conference (MWC) regular season championship, won their first conference championship, and made their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance.
Canadian players Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot have played crucial roles in the team’s ascent, contributing significantly to their recent accomplishments.
U Sports vs. NCAA Division I
The three U Sports teams that the Broncos will be facing on this foreign tour have historically struggled against NCAA Division I opponents. The Thompson Rivers Wolfpack, which joined U Sports basketball in 2005, has played only three games against Division I teams to date.
Trinity Western University has a 3-26 record against NCAA competition, including notable victories against Santa Clara, Colorado State, and Utah Valley. The Fraser Valley Cascades, with a record of 2-16 against NCAA teams, have also secured wins against Idaho State and San Diego.
Preparation and new additions
According to NCAA rules, teams are allowed to take a foreign tour once every four years. The Broncos will have the opportunity to engage in ten practice sessions before the trip, with practices expected to commence in mid-July. This will be the second foreign tour during Coach Rice’s tenure, following the team’s trip to Costa Rica before the 2016-17 season.
In preparation for the upcoming season, Boise State has added eight new players to their roster. Among them are UC San Diego transfer Roddie Anderson III, Kansas transfer Cam Martin, St. John’s transfer O’Mar Stanley, walk-on Alex Martin, and incoming freshmen Andrew Meadow, Emmanuel Ugbo, and Chris Lockett.
The team’s head coach, Leon Rice, expressed his enthusiasm for the trip, emphasizing the opportunity for the players to acclimate to one another, gain international experience, and hit the ground running before the fall.
The Boise State Broncos are entering this foreign tour with momentum on their side, having secured back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for only the second time in program history, with the first occurrence dating back to the 1993-94 season.
Returning for the Broncos are All-Mountain West selections Tyson Degenhart and Max Rice, along with starter Chibuzo Agbo, providing a solid foundation for the team as they look to continue their upward trajectory.