Tuesday, April 30, 2013.
Now that the team-by-team “Draft Tracker” on your favorite website is complete, what effect did the draft have on some of the current Boise State players in the NFL? As a former first rounder, Kyle Wilson may be the most affected. With Darrelle Revis off to Tampa Bay, the New York Jets drafted a guy they hope is Revis’ replacement, Alabama’s Dee Milliner. Antonio Cromartie is expected to become the Jets’ feature corner, and the consensus is that Milliner will supplant Wilson in the No. 2 corner spot. But one theory says the addition of Milliner will actually allow Wilson to move back inside to the slot, where he excels.
You knew the St. Louis Rams needed a wide receiver, with Danny Amendola now in New England. Well, Austin Pettis has his work cut out for him, as the Rams landed not one receiver, but two. They snapped up West Virginia’s Tavon Austin with the No. 8 overall pick—then took Austin’s Mountaineer teammate at wideout, Stedman Bailey, in the third round. Mike Tanier of “Sports On Earth” feels Pettis can still be in the mix, though. Writes Tanier: “Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Chris Givens can join Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin in an aerial circus that makes the Packers look tame, though Rams receivers have a bad habit of a) getting injured; b) averaging 8.7 yards per catch; or c) both.” Pettis averaged 8.7 yards per reception last season.
Arizona drew a line in the sand of sorts for Daryn Colledge. The Cardinals chose North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper with the seventh overall pick. Then they went for another guard in the fourth round, Earl Watford out of James Madison. Colledge, a seven-year veteran, had to absorb a lot of criticism last season (along with the rest of the Cards’ O-line). Colledge is 31 years old now. Former Bronco Nate Potter could also be affected. Potter’s a tackle, but the Cardinals could elect to shuffle some positions up front. Detroit, meanwhile, did not draft a quarterback, so for the time being Kellen Moore’s status as the Lions’ No. 3 QB seems to be secure. Moore has not thrown a pass in a game since the final preseason game last August.
D.J. Harper joins a crowded running back cupboard in San Francisco, but it should be a great experience. Harper has signed with the 49ers, prohibitive favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII, as a free agent. At first glance the former Boise State star could fill the spot ticketed for Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina great who may, in effect, “redshirt” this year as he continues to rehab last season’s horrific knee injury. But Harper will still be competing with Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon and Jewel Hampton for a possible spot behind Niners standouts Frank Gore and LaMichael James.
This ECHL Western Conference semifinals series between the Idaho Steelheads and Ontario Reign has fluctuated between blowouts and nailbiters. What’ll it be tonight as the Steelheads try to wrap it up in Game 6 at Ontario? I’d bet on the latter. Each team has handed the other an embarrassing shutout—the Reign dropped the Steelies 5-0 in Game 2, and Idaho did the deed 6-0 in Game 5. Otherwise, all the games have been of the one-goal variety, with two going into overtime as the Steelheads go in tonight with a three games-to-two lead. Tyler Gron hopes to influence the outcome tonight the way he has all the way along since he arrived in Boise in January. Gron has 28 goals in just 45 games with the Steelheads.
Gary Stevens and D. Wayne Lukas are out to prove they’re not over the hill. Stevens, the Hall of Fame jockey whose career started at Les Bois Park, and Lukas, the legendary trainer, team up with Oxbow in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Lukas has saddled up more Derby starters than any trainer in history, while Stevens has 18 Derbies on his resume, including three victories. Lukas is 77 and would become the oldest trainer ever to win a Kentucky Derby if Oxbow pulls a monumental upset. Stevens would tie late Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker with a fourth win in the Run For The Roses.
The College of Idaho is hoping for a hoops renaissance and feels Scott Garson is the man to produce it. Garson, the UCLA assistant who became available when Ben Howland was fired by the Bruins last month, was officially introduced as the Coyotes’ new head coach yesterday. “The College of Idaho fit some criteria that I had: 1) that it’s an outstanding academic institution, and 2) their support for athletics,” Garson said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. “I’m really excited about what can be done here.” He learned a lot from late Utah coach Rick Majerus, who died five months ago. Garson, who was once on Majerus’ staff with the Utes, will attend a dinner in Santa Barbara Saturday night commemorating his life.
After a 19-31 record, there weren’t going to be many postseason accolades coming the way of the Idaho Stampede. But D-League props did go to Stampede guards Justin Holiday and Carlon Brown. Holiday, the Stamps’ leading scorer at 17.3 points per game, was All-D-League third team. He was also named to the second team All-Defensive squad after averaging 2½ steals per game. Brown made the D-League’s All-Rookie third team with a 13.4 points per game average.
Mopup on former Boise Hawks from the weekend brings to light three key pitching performances. John Lackey not only returned from the disabled list Sunday, he pitched six solid innings to beat Houston 6-1. It was Lackey’s first win in 614 days. He had suffered a biceps injury during his first start on April 6. The one-time Angel retired 13 straight batters from the second through fifth innings. Andrew Cashner notched his first win of the season last Friday in the Padres’ 2-1 victory over the Giants and Tim Lincecum. Cashner also logged his second big league hit and his first stolen base. And Oakland reliever Jerry Blevins also picked up his first win of 2013 Sunday, pitching a scoreless 10th inning as the A’s rallied past Baltimore, 9-8. You can see Blevins’ value in his ERA—it’s 1.84 this season, and it was 2.48 over 63 appearances last year.
We’ll have to check on Stephen Fife’s status a week from today. That’s when the former Borah High star is set to come off the disabled list with the L.A. Dodgers. Fife was placed on the DL Saturday before his scheduled start against Milwaukee with shoulder bursitis, but it was retroactive to the day after his last (and only) appearance on April 22. Fife is still waiting for his first major league victory.
This Day In Sports…April 30, 1961:
I listened to this game on the radio in my formative years. Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants joins another elite club—those who have hit four home runs in a single game. Mays did it against the Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee, a couple of ‘em going over the head of future home run king Hank Aaron. Mays still ranks fourth on the career home run list behind his godson Barry Bonds, Aaron, and Babe Ruth.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)