Friday, June 25, 2010.
All three Canadian Football League backup quarterbacks with Treasure Valley ties have made the cut as Opening Night approaches next Thursday. Former Boise State starters Jared Zabransky and Ryan Dinwiddie are the No. 3 guys in Edmonton and Saskatchewan, respectively. And Caldwell’s Cody Pickett, a late arrival in Calgary after being cut in Montreal has made the cut in Calgary as CFL teams pare their rosters to the 46-player limit. All three were college stars—now they’ve been able to keep their careers going for the love of the game. At least that’s the case with Dinwiddie and Pickett. Zabransky is still looking for bigger things.
The interesting guy is Pickett, the former Washington Husky. After a cup of coffee with the San Francisco 49ers, Pickett started bouncing around the CFL. "I've been everywhere. I'm kind of the journeyman," said Pickett, a one-time starter in Toronto. He has his head screwed on straight at this point of his career. "I've played a lot of football and I feel comfortable as the years go on with being able to go out and just manage the game and do whatever I can do to help the team and fit in where I can,” Pickett said in the Calgary Herald. Cody, the son of former world calf roping champion and one-time Boise State quarterback Dee Pickett, turns 30 next week.
In his College Football Mailbag at SI.com, Stewart Mandel answers a question about Utah being able to compete week in and week out in the Pac-10 with the types of players it recruits. Mandel nails it: “Whenever someone makes the argument that Utah or Boise State wouldn't be able to hang for an entire season in, say, the Pac-10, my answer is always this: If they were in the Pac-10, they'd be able to recruit better players. And that's what you're about to see with Utah.” And that’s exactly the point in the Mountain West for the Broncos.
The Boise Hawks got out of the gates quickly against Salem-Keizer last night—then held the Volcanoes at arm’s length the rest of the way in a 10-7 victory. After Boise scored five runs in the first, Brandon May’s three-run homer staked the Hawks to an 8-1 lead just two innings into the game. It was the second dinger of the young season for May. Pitcher Chris Huseby, yo-yo’ing between the mound and the batter’s box, was the Hawks’ designated hitter again last night and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. We’re talkin’ a 6-7 hurler here, but Huseby is hitting .300 now. The five-game series between the Hawks and Volcanoes wraps up tonight at Memorial Stadium.
Did I say the other day that Scot Shields is the only former Boise Hawk left with the L.A. Angels? Oops. Seldom-used Robb Quinlan snuck by unnoticed four weeks ago when he was called back up from Salt Lake City. Things haven’t been going so well for Quinlan, the 1999 Northwest League Player of the Year with Boise. He’s just 4-for-26 since returning to the Halos, and three of the hits came in one game in Seattle back on June 6. This is Quinlan’s eighth big league season—his best year was 2006, when he hit .321 as a utilityman with nine homers.
The WAC missed landing three first round picks in the 2010 NBA Draft by four slots last night. Fresno State forward Paul George was the 10th overall selection, going to the Indiana Pacers. Seems like a bit of a gamble. George was second-team All-WAC last season, and SI.com’s analysis says things like this about him: “Defensively, George relies heavily on his athleticism, so the team that drafts him is going to have to improve his mental preparation for the game as much as refining all the tools he physically brings.”
Nevada’s Luke Babbitt was taken 16th overall by Minnesota and then was traded to Portland. And Babbitt’s Wolf Pack teammate, Armon Johnson, will remain a teammate for awhile. Johnson was chosen 34th overall—the fourth pick of the second round—by the Blazers. The WAC actually had another second round pick, as Louisiana Tech’s Magnum Rolle went to Oklahoma City.
The guy who couldn’t so much as walk on as a player at Boise State is in demand as an NBA assistant coach. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Monty Williams, the new coach of the New Orleans Hornets, has hired former Idaho Stampede coach Bryan Gates away from Sacramento. Gates has spent just one season on the Kings staff under Paul Westphal. While the head coach at Boise State, Bobby Dye turned down Gates’ request to walk on with the Broncos in the early 1990’s. But when Dye became head man for the Stampede, he allowed Gates to “walk on” as an assistant coach. Ten years later, Gates was head coach of the Stamps and led them to the 2008 D-League Championship. This continues to be an amazing story.
It’s on to the second round at Wimbledon for Boise State Hall of Famer Wesley Moodie and “Gentlemen’s Doubles” partner Dick Norman. The South African and the Belgian defeated Jeff Coetzee and Kristof Vliegen in four sets yesterday and will now face Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan and Andreas Seppi of Italy. Moodie is also playing mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Lisa Raymond. Meanwhile, Boise State products Graham DeLaet and Troy Merritt are back on the PGA Tour this week at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, CT. DeLaet shot an even-par 70 in yesterday’s first round, while Merritt was one-over at 71.
The ECHL is headed for the Windy City ‘burbs. The league’s Board of Governors has approved an expansion franchise for Chicago (actually Hoffman Estates, 25 miles northwest of the city). The team will begin play in October, 2011, at the Sears Centre, with a capacity of 9,400 for hockey. If there’s no attrition after the upcoming season, Chicago will give the ECHL 20 teams in 2011-12. Will it be called the “Chicago” somethings, or the “Hoffman Estates” somethings?
This Day In Sports…June 25, 1968:
Bobby Bonds of the San Francisco Giants becomes only the second player in major league history to hit a grand slam home run in his first game. Playing in rightfield alongside his mentor, centerfielder Willie Mays, Bonds would go on to play 14 seasons in the bigs and hit 332 career homers. At the time of his major league debut, Bonds had a son named Barry who was a month shy of his fourth birthday.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)