Thursday, July 11, 2013.
Athlon’s Braden Gall has produced a list of the Top 25 Defensive Heisman Trophy candidates, and you’ll see one of them a lot and two more a little this season. No. 24 is Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. “The junior could be the next big star nationally for the Broncos' defense,” writes Gall. “Should Boise State run the table or finish 12-1, Lawrence will get much of the credit on defense.” Lawrence is the latest in a string of bingos among junior college transfers at Boise State. The Broncos hope the next one is defensive tackle Deuce Mataele.
No. 7 on Gall’s list is BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy. He was much-hyped when he came into Bronco Stadium with the Cougars last September, and the buzz has only accelerated since then. Van Noy’s numbers are sick: 22 tackles-for-loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, two blocked kicks, and a pair of interceptions for good measure. “The Cougars' outside defender is penciled in as a first-round selection next May as he returns to lead one of the more underrated defenses in the nation,” Gall writes.
Boise State will see Gall’s No. 16 defensive Heisman candidate right out of the chute this season. It’s Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson. “This might be a bit optimistic but Thompson has all the tools to become one of the nation's best players as just a sophomore,” Gall opines. “Fans in the Northwest can bet that UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will find all sorts of ways to utilize this future superstar on the field.” As a safety last year, Thompson recorded eight tackles in UW’s 28-26 loss to the Broncos in December’s Las Vegas Bowl.
Bush Hamdan’s brainchild is into its sixth year now, and it’s grown into a summer staple. The Bronco Football Summer Classic, the softball game between the offense and defense benefitting The First Tee of Idaho, takes over Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Hamdan founded the event as a community service project for Boise State going into his senior year in 2008. But publicizing the event has been a struggle this year. The university’s compliance department is erring on the side of caution when it comes to eligible athletes having any kind of perceived association with a commercial venture, even the Boise Hawks. The Hawks haven’t been able to do so much as a public address announcement or poster promoting the game at their stadium. Boise State is hoping its public relations blitz this week is getting the message out.
So where is Hamdan now? He’s getting down to brass tacks as the co-offensive coordinator for Bryan Harsin at Arkansas State. Harsin, the Boise State O.C. from 2006-10, has six former BSU players and/or coaches on his Red Wolves staff. Gerald Alexander, for example. Alexander was highly entertaining on the field microphone at last year’s softball event. I ran into the former Bronco and NFL safety at the Capital City Public Market downtown last Saturday—he was here for ex-teammate Alex Guerrero’s wedding. Alas, Alexander won’t be at this year’s softball extravaganza Saturday, as he’ll be back at work with Hamdan and the rest of Harsin’s crew as a graduate assistant in Jonesboro.
The Boise Hawks needed a third spurt last night but didn’t get it in a 6-5 loss at Vancouver. The Hawks got two runs in the first when Jose Dore smacked his first home run of the year with a man on. Then, when Boise looked dead in the water down 5-2 in the top of the eighth, it manufactured three runs to tie the Canadians. But Vancouver loaded the bases with nobody out in its half of the eighth and managed to get the go-ahead run in on a sacrifice fly. The Hawks didn’t answer in the ninth. Boise didn’t play any of its new arrivals from the Arizona Rookie League last night, 2013 draft picks Sam Wilson and Kevin Brown, and infielder Jesse Hodges. The big news is the new arrival on the horizon. The second overall pick in the draft, Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego, has signed with the Cubs and will reportedly start his pro career in Boise.
This week’s Web.com Tour stop is about five hours down the road at the Utah Championship in Sandy. It would be a lot more convenient in terms of travel if this event and the Albertsons Boise Open were back-to-back and not sandwiched around the Midwest Classic in Overland Park, KS, but that’s the way the schedule shakes out. It’s crunch time for former Boise State standout Troy Merritt, as the Web.com Tour has seven regular-season events remaining, including the stop in Boise. Merritt is 56th on the secondary tour’s money list. The top 25 get PGA Tour cards for the new season, which now begins in October. The top 75 from the Web,com circuit join Nos. 126-150 from the PGA Tour for a series of three tournaments in September. The top 25 money-winners from those events who didn’t already clinch tour cards will also move on to the big tour.
Boise State senior-to-be Igor Hadziomerovic scored three points with three rebounds and three assists in 16 minutes as Australia suffered its first defeat at the World University Games yesterday, falling to Canada 92-83. The Canadians put it away with a 19-3 run in the fourth quarter. The Emus play the United States today in what is close to a must-win situation for the Aussies. Elsewhere, former UNLV guard Katin Reinhart has made it official, transferring to USC. The 6-5 lefthanded sharpshooter hit 65 three-pointers for the Rebels as a freshman. He’ll have to sit out this season with the Trojans.
After reading Dave Southorn’s detailed accounts of Boise State hoops summer practices, including Derrick Marks’ quest to improve his overall game going into his junior year, it got me thinking that maybe the program really has turned the corner again. I mean, when was the last time we saw a comprehensive report on the Bronco men’s basketball team in the middle of summer? Attendance rose sharply in Taco Bell Arena last season, and Boise State’s first-ever at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament is looking like ticket money in the bank.
This Day In Sports…July 11, 1961:
At Candlestick Park in San Francisco, a famous gust of wind comes up during the All-Star Game and causes Stu Miller to sway as he goes into his windup, resulting in a balk. It’s not like this was a surprise to Miller—he was a reliever for the Giants and was on his home field. Miller eventually righted himself, and the National League won the game, 5-4.
(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.)