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QUEST: Closing the Books on a Title

August 8, 2023

This story is included in the most recent issue of Quest Magazine, the College's twice-yearly Alumni publication. To view the entire issue online, or to view longer-form "Quest Extra" pieces, click here.

Caden Handran could finally rest. After the grueling 73-72 win in the NAIA National Tournament semifinals, the sophomore looked forward to a good night’s sleep in his Kansas City hotel room, thinking about none other than the national championship game the next night. 

But Handran’s computer said otherwise. “I’m looking at my laptop and I’m looking at the assignments I need to do, and I see a financial accounting quiz due at 11:59 p.m.,” he said. “I’m like, ‘shoot. We have about 30 minutes to do this thing.’”  

That’s when Handran called teammate and redshirt freshman Whitt Miller, who’s also in financial accounting class taught by Business and Accounting Professor David Tucker. Miller hadn’t taken the quiz either, so the two quickly banded together in Handran’s room, completed the quiz, and submitted the assignment a mere three minutes before the deadline. 

That’s nothing new for Handran and Miller. The men’s basketball season runs through all three terms of the academic year and lasts up to seven months, requiring players to work with professors as they navigate through their academic demands. 

But for two academic all-conference selections like Handran and Miller, completing a quiz in between the biggest national tournament games of their lives was just another day as a College of Idaho student-athlete. 

“What you saw from Caden and Whitt is that they’ve been able to not only build those relationships with their professors, David Tucker specifically, but they’ve been able to organize themselves at a championship level,” Coach Colby Blaine said. “It’s not even a mindset to have a backup plan. They just did the quiz, and I think it’s a compliment to why we had so much success this year.” 

That success included the No. 1 ranking in the country, the first 22-0 conference record in Cascade Conference history, the CCC regular season and tournament titles and a 35-game winning streak heading into the Yotes’ first national championship game since 1996. 

“What really endures is your dedication and your commitment to the team and your commitment to your profession,” Tucker said. “By being conscientious like Caden and Whitt were, that indicates that they have a longer-term vision for life.”  

Tucker’s financial accounting class includes weekly homework problems and a chapter quiz due every Friday. On this late Friday night leading up to the national championship, Handran and Miller’s quiz dealt with closing journal entries, commonly referred to as “closing the books.”  

Twenty-one hours later, Handran and Miller closed the books on the Yotes’ historic season, defeating Indiana Tech 73-71 to claim the program’s second national title. 

And Tucker was there to see it, traveling 1,400 miles to congratulate his two students. 

“Personally, he is one of my favorite professors I’ve had so far,” Miller said. “I just really appreciate how personable he is and how much he cares about us students. So when I found him (after the national championship), I said ‘let’s get a picture. You came out all this way and this is pretty special.’ To have David come out, that means a lot.” 

The College of Idaho has a 132-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit