When James Webb III’s name is mentioned around the Boise State men’s basketball team, one word is bound to come up — athletic.
The 6-foot-9, 202-pound Webb draws that description with his length and jump-out-of-the-gym leaping ability. But his whole life he’s been the definition of an athlete, lettering in tennis, soccer, baseball, track and cross country in addition to basketball in high school in Georgia.
“I was an active child — I liked to do stuff, didn’t want to sit around,” Webb said.
A bit restless by nature, he was put in a new situation this past year, sitting out with a redshirt after transferring from North Idaho College. But Webb, now a redshirt sophomore, saw it as a necessary step in his growth, both mentally and physically. He has added 15 pounds since last fall and has even grown an inch.
“I needed it,” Webb said. “When I came in, those first few practices, I realized it. I was getting pushed around. Then kind of spending that year seeing how the offense worked, getting used to that, it all really helped.”
Webb said he hopes to bring versatility to the table when he plays, first noting rebounding and blocked shots. In the team’s open scrimmage earlier this month, he had one of the night’s notable plays when he scooted across the key to reject a Dez Trent layup attempt after Trent beat his defender.
“What I’ve seen so far is that he can make plays that other guys can’t,” Rice said. “We played against a lot of that against Kentucky, UNLV, San Diego State — they can mess things up defensively just a little and still block your shot. We haven’t ever had that.”
Though he takes pride in doing some of the gritty things, Webb will no doubt add some pizzazz to the floor. That height and vertical prowess equate to some pretty impressive dunks.
“He’s a highlight reel,” said Boise State junior guard Montigo Alford, who played against Webb at the College of Southern Idaho.
Though his exact role remains to be seen, Webb has put in the sort of effort coaches were hoping for as he got acclimated last season.
“His summer work was the best he’s had since he’s been here,” Rice said.
Webb will continue to fight for minutes in the month before the Broncos’ regular-season opener Nov. 14 against San Diego in Los Angeles, and he knows what he wants to deliver when he finally comes off that bench.
“I want to bring some hustle, help get those defensive stops, and maybe bring a little excitement to the Boise area,” Webb said.