LAS VEGAS — Mt. Spokane alum Tyson Degenhart didn't start a game for Boise State until a month into the season. He then proceeded to win nine out of the next 14 Mountain West Freshman of the Week Awards.
So when the season-long Mountain West Awards were announced this week, there was no question who would win Freshman of the Year.
"It’s crazy. I never thought it would happen this way, but obviously winning Freshman of the Year is a dream come true. I couldn’t ask for a better place for me to be at," Degenhart said. "It’s more of a team award because it’s not without the coaches, or the staff, or my teammates. They helped me get this award, and I can’t thank them enough for that."
His teammates saw this possibility long before he did though. This past summer, guard Emmanuel Akot spoke this into existence.
"He told me, ‘Your goal this year is to win Mountain West Freshman of the Year.’ I remember that conversation very well," Degenhart recalled. "At the start of the year, it wasn’t looking that great, but things change, and I took advantage of my opportunity."
After a gutting loss to CSU-Bakersfield in which the Broncos only scored 39 points, the staff decided it was time to start Degenhart.
He never relinquished his starting job after that.
"I got thrown into a great situation. They let me be me and play my game, and I really appreciate that," Degenhart said. "Just being free, playing with lots of emotion, doing whatever I can to help the team win."
This award signals that he’ll be relied upon more and more to help his team win for years to come, an opportunity that Degenhart said he relishes.
"It’s just going to make me work harder in the summer knowing that people are expecting a lot out of me, and I want to prove them right," he said.