Melba grad Joey Nebeker won’t be returning to the Boise State men’s basketball team next season. And he’s not too happy about it.

A short time after Wednesday’s announcement by Boise State that Nebeker and Edmunds Dukulis would be leaving the program to seek more playing time, the reserve guard informed the Idaho Press-Tribune that the departure wasn’t his choice.

Nebeker said Rice told him during a meeting earlier this week that his scholarship wouldn’t be renewed following the end of the current semester.

“He informed me that he’s going to cut me because he doesn’t think I’m good enough to play at this level,” Nebeker said during a phone conversation. “Basically, that’s the reason he gave me. I was shocked.

“I feel a little cheated. I didn’t get the opportunity I deserved and was promised.”

Nebeker was well down on the depth chart last season as a redshirt freshman and played only 28 total minutes and had 11 total points after redshirting during the 2012-13 season.

He told the Press-Tribune that he understood not getting much playing time last season, due to seniors Thomas Bropleh and Jeff Elloriaga deserving most of the minutes. But he was expecting his role to increase moving forward.

“I understand the whole situation with Thomas and Jeff being veteran guys, but I thought next year would be a better opportunity,” Nebeker said. “I talked with the coaches last year on what I needed to do to get on the court and they said, ‘We had good guys ahead of you, but you’ll get your opportunity.’
“I felt like the (28) minutes I played wasn’t a fair opportunity. I guess in their minds it was. I expected a bit more, and in practice I felt good about where I was at.

“We had meetings last week and we talked about expectations, and (Rice) said I could be a leader on the team. To me, that spoke that I would be here next year. Being cut never crossed my mind.”

Reached by the Idaho Press-Tribune late Wednesday and informed of Nebeker’s comments, Rice declined to respond and said only, “Joey is a great kid and I wish him well.”

Rice’s decision to not renew Nebeker’s scholarship is within the rules. Scholarships are granted on a yearly basis and not guaranteed for the duration of a student-athlete’s eligibility. Coaches are often forced to do the same thing if they are short on scholarships.