Today, Bronco fans will say goodbye to three outstanding Bronco seniors. Although farewells are never easy, this season will be especially difficult, as these three have made a great impact on basketball at Boise State. All three of these fine young men will leave Boise State having made their marks in the Bronco record books.
It has been a remarkable career for one of the hardest working players ever to grace the floor at Boise State. Jason Ellis will leave Boise State as the leading rebounder in Bronco history in terms of total rebounds. He broke Bill Otey's mark of 805 earlier this season and has now shattered that record with 874. Jason needs 26 rebounds to become the first Bronco to ever score 900 points and grab 900 rebounds in his career. With a minimum of three games remaining, Ellis has a chance to accomplish that incredible feat. He went over the 900-point plateau last week and currently has 926. The likable star from Kent, Washington is currently tied with Arnell Jones for the 3rd best rebounding average at Boise State and needs 26 field goals to catch Bronco great Ron Austin for 10th in career field goals. Starting in nearly every game of his four years at Boise State, Jason is averaging 8.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest.
Ellis places 5th all-time in blocked shots with 94 at Boise State and also has 118 assists and 89 steals in his four years. He scored his career high of 23 points vs. Portland State in 2002 and 19 rebounds in '03 against Idaho. Jason has hit 360-747 (48.2%) of his field goals and 206-288 (71.5%) of his free throws. He is the 4th member of the 700-point/700-rebound club, joining such great Broncos as Trent Johnson, Bruce Bolden and Bill Otey. Jason is currently tied with Steve Shephard for 5th in games played (114) and for 5th with Joe Skiffer for games started with 105. With 3 starts the rest of the season, Ellis will tie Steve Connor for the 2nd most career starts by a Bronco. That would leave NBA star Chris Childs as the only player to start more games than Ellis.
This season Ellis has connected on 86 of 173 field goals (49.7%) and 42-57 free-throws (73.7%). Despite missing six games, he is 5th in the WAC with 177 rebounds (8.0 per game) and also has 28 assists, 19 blocks and 10 steals. On the season, he has 214 points (9.7 points per game. He has 3 double-doubles to increase his career total to 17.
Last year, Ellis earned All-Western Athletic Conference Defensive team honors in helping the Broncos to a 23-10 record last season, including advancing into the Sweet 16 of the National Invitation Tournament. Jason had 297 rebounds last season, the 3rd highest in school history. He grabbed double-digit rebounds 12 times in 2003 and had eight double-doubles, including a 20-point, 16-rebound game at Nevada and a 16-point, 19-rebound game at Idaho.
In 2002-2003, Ellis had 227 rebounds, at the time the best since Arnell Jones' 247 in 1986-87. He was 3rd in the WAC in rebounding, 3rd in offensive rebounding, 5th in defensive rebounding and 7th in blocked shots, averaging 9.4 points and 7.8 rebounds a game. Ellis also led the team in blocked shots with 27 and field goal percentage, making 49 % of his shots and hit 75% from the free-throw stripe, including 80% in WAC play. In the WAC tournament that year, he had 15 points, 14 rebounds, a career-high five blocked shots and three steals against SMU.
In his first season, Ellis became just the fourth true freshman to start a season opener for the Broncos in the last 19 years, joining Chris Childs, Pete Eisenrich and Steve Shephard in that elite group. He averaged 5.1 points and 5.8 rebounds that year, and finished the season with the 2nd best rebounding season every by a freshman with 173 rebounds (14th in the WAC). Trent Johnson had 189 in 1974-75.
Jermaine Blackburn leads the Broncos in scoring this season, averaging 15.1 points a game (9th in the WAC). Showing his versatility, JB has also hit 32 of 100 three-pointers and is a dependable 74-106 (.698 percentage) from the line. Jermaine also has collected 129 rebounds (4.6 average) 86 assists, 20 steals and 7 blocked shots this season. He is the 29th player in Bronco history to score over 400 points in a season (with 424), ranking 24th with a minimum of three games to play. If he hits his average over those three games, Blackburn will climb to the 7th best scoring season in the record books at Boise State.
In the magical season last year, Blackburn was 11th in the WAC last season with 13.7 points per game despite missing six games with a shoulder injury. He scored over 20 points 5 times, including a career-best 25 point game at UTEP. JB also ranked 6th best in the league with a 49.3 % field goal percentage, scoring 371 points and grabbing 90 rebounds. Blackburn scored in double digits in 21 of 27 games. He also dished out 39 assists and came up with 28 steals last season.
For his career, Blackburn has 795 points (14.7 points per game), 219 rebounds (4.0 rebounds per game), 125 assists, 48 steals and 12 blocked shots. A 15.1 point average will place Blackburn 10th all-time at Boise State for career average.
Franco Harris has come into Boise State and given the Broncos a dangerous three-point threat. Harris is 63-160 (39.4%--3rd in the WAC) from beyond the arc this season, placing him 6th on the all-time Bronco list for most 3-pointers in a season. He has also hit 18 of 21 free-throws (85.7%) and has 54 rebounds, 43 assists and 13 steals. Franco is averaging 9.2 points a game this season.
Last year, Harris averaged 4.8 points a game, and was 14th in the WAC in 3-pointers with 43. He hit 37.4% of his three-point attempts and had 25 rebounds, 16 assists and 12 steals. He hit a career-high 5 3-pointers at SMU on 7 attempts.
For his brief but excellent two-year Bronco career, Harris has 406 points, 26-33 free throws (78.8%), 79 rebounds, 59 assists and 25 steals. Despite only playing two years at Boise State, Harris is currently 10th in three-pointers with 106. Franco's accuracy from beyond the arc of 38.5% is good for 9th all-time at Boise State.
Three seniors that will be playing in their last home game at Boise State. They've given a big boost to the basketball program for the Broncos and touched us all with the incredible season last year. They will be missed, but we know with the hard work and dedication they've shown us, they will be successful at whatever they do. Jason, Jermaine and Franco-- Congratulations for an excellent career here, thank-you for being outstanding people and great examples of what hard work can accomplish and best of luck in the future. Don't forget to come back and say "Hi!"