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Max Rice goes from childhood dreams to grown-man milestones at NCAA Tournament

Max Rice has been around Boise State basketball since he was 9 years old. He's gone from watching legends, to scripting his own.

BOISE, Idaho — They say a picture is worth a thousand words. At the time when the photo above this story was taken, Boise State guard Max Rice was just "a little guy."

"It's kind of surreal when you pause and think about it," Leon Rice said.

Somewhere near the end of its synopsis, Max Rice – then just the young son of the Broncos' head coach – would make his grand entrance.

"Pretty special memories for me and my family," Leon Rice said.

Max Rice has been around the Boise State men's basketball program since he was 9 years old.

Back then, he was never the center of the photo. His story was evolving on the outskirts.

"Some of those players on that team I looked up to and wanted to be like when I was older," Max Rice said. "It probably propelled me to the player I am today, just watching those guys and seeing what they did."

When the Broncos qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2013, he was there. When they returned to March Madness two years later, again, he got a front-row seat that could only be described as a real-life fairy tale. 

"I remember those days, like when just seeing Boise State's name being called, and those are some of my best memories just growing up and seeing that happen," Max Rice said.

Fast forward almost a decade, and Max Rice has gone from watching legends, to scripting his own. 

"Being around this program for my whole life, it's pretty surreal to be living this," he said.

The fifth-year guard and Bishop Kelly High School graduate is now Boise State's leader in minutes played, and three-pointers made. No Bronco scored more points in Mountain West play this season than Max Rice. 

From childhood dreams, to grown-man milestones, he calls it "an amazing opportunity."

"Having the chance to go to the NCAA tournament and being in a good 7-10 game that you have a chance of winning," Max Rice said.

It's safe to say that Boise State is now 'maximizing' it's potential, thanks to a kid that has become the center of attention for the Broncos. 

"To be a part of it and to get the chance to go play in the tournament again is an amazing experience and after it happens, when I'm looking back on it, it will be really cool to look back on," Max Rice said. "Just now, in the moment, I'm super focused with my guys and I'm excited to get out there and play. It's super surreal to be a part of this."

Boise State (24-9, 13-5 MW) and Northwestern (21-11, 12-8 Big Ten) face off at 5:35 p.m. MT at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The game will be nationally televised on truTV. For information on ways to watch and listen to the game, check out KTVB's Bronco preview story.

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