Monday, July 8, 2013.
In the old days, local media had a lot of latitude to do features on Boise State football players. Those stories really connected the Broncos’ personalities (and quirks) with viewers/listeners/readers. Those days have gone by the wayside since Boise State’s rise in appeal to the national masses, increasing demands on time. That’s what makes the Bronco Football Summer Classic, the annual softball game between the offense and defense, so unique. The guys are out there without helmets on and without pressure. They interact with the fans—you can see who the cut-ups are. And you can see where the chemistry comes from. The sixth annual Bronco Football Classic is set for this Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, again benefitting The First Tee of Idaho. There are 43 players slated to participate.
The Boise Hawks are nothing if not streaky right now. They have followed a six-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak after a 3-1 loss to Tri-City in 10 innings last night. It didn’t have to be that way, as Boise equaled a season-high by grounding into four double-plays. Before Tyler Bremer allowed the go-ahead runs in the 10th, pitching was the story for the Hawks. Starter Paul Blackburn didn’t get a decision—he’s 0-1 this season despite a 1.17 ERA. New arrival Ron Zastryzny, the Cubs’ second round draft pick out of Missouri, debuted with one scoreless inning, walking one and striking out two. Recent arrival Andrew McKirahan, who made four appearances for Boise in 2011, went 2 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out four. The Hawks try to salvage a game in the five-game set as the series with the Dust Devils wraps up tonight.
Former Boise Hawk Ricky Nolasco has escaped the Miami Marlins. One of the last remaining front line players from last year’s Miami club, Nolasco was traded Saturday to the L.A. Dodgers for three minor leaguers. Nolasco is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA this year—pretty good for this bunch of Marlins. He’s 81-72 in eight seasons for Florida/Miami and just went over 1,000 in career strikeouts. We’ll see if Nolasco’s arrival affects Borah High alum Stephen Fife’s standing with the Dodgers. Fife is 3-3 after a 4-2 loss to the Giants Saturday in San Francisco. He allowed seven hits and all four Giants runs, although only one was earned. Fife’s ERA is a solid 2.76.
It was a modest payday by Graham DeLaet’s new standards, but who wouldn’t take it? After barely making the cut Friday at the Greenbreier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, WV, the former Boise State star rallied with a four-under 66 Saturday that was worth, oh, maybe $20,000. He finished yesterday with a 70 and won $36,619. DeLaet is over the $1.5 million mark for the season. The Web.com Tour was off for the week. The 24th Albertsons Boise Open tees off in its new calendar spot two weeks from Thursday at Hillcrest Country Club.
Three months to the day after Novak Djokovic led Serbia past the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals at Taco Bell Arena, he was on the other side of history on Centre Court. Andy Murray ended a 77-year British drought by winning the Wimbledon men’s championship in straight sets yesterday over Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked player. In the largely overlooked (as usual) men’s double final, Bob and Mike Bryan were victorious Saturday to become the first duo in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam championships at the same time. It’s so ironic, dominant as they are, that the Bryan Brothers’ loss to Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac in a five-set grinder in Boise turned the tide negatively for the Americans in their hopes for a 2013 Davis Cup crown.
As of this fall, Dan Ellis will be 10 seasons removed from his memorable campaign with the Idaho Steelheads, and his NHL career has come full circle. During the season that ended with an MVP trophy in the Kelly Cup Finals when the Idaho Steelheads won their first ECHL championship in 2004, Ellis made his NHL debut. He was in goal for one game with the Dallas Stars—and beat the L.A. Kings 4-3. Since then Ellis has gone through Nashville, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Carolina. But now he returns to the Stars, as he has signed as a free agent with Dallas.
With Boise State incoming freshman Nick Duncan playing a key part, Australia finished fourth yesterday at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. The Emus dropped a couple heartbreakers to Serbia and Lithuania in the semifinal and third-place games. Duncan played his best ball in the wins that got the Australians to the semis. He scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a 78-61 win over Russia in an elimination game last Wednesday, and he contributed 12 points in an 87-76 upset of Spain in the quarterfinals. Duncan now prepares for his new adventure in Boise. Elsewhere, Bronco junior Igor Hadziomerovic scored two points and had three rebounds off the bench in Australia’s 85-57 win against the Czech Republic to open the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
Coby Karl turned 30 years old a month ago today, but he isn’t ready to hang it up yet. The former Boise State and Idaho Stampede standout has been invited by the Toronto Raptors to participate in the Las Vegas Summer League starting Friday. It was well-known that last season with the Stampede would probably be Karl’s last in Boise, and that is the case. The more lucrative paychecks in Europe make more sense at this point in Karl’s career, which he’s happy to prolong. “I’m just going to do it as long as I can,” Karl said on Idaho SportsTalk last Wednesday. If an NBA shot doesn’t work out, he’ll probably head to Europe again. Karl said he’ll know what to expect—great culture and spotty facilities. The money is worth it. Karl played in all 50 games for the Stampede last season, averaging 13.3 points and 6.3 assists.
Former Stampede player Josh McRoberts may not have been one of the glamour free agents in the NBA this summer, but the Charlotte Bobcats are happy to hang onto him. McRoberts has re-signed with one of the league’s moribund franchises for two years and $6 million. He was traded from Orlando to Charlotte last winter and worked his way into the Bobcats’ starting lineup, averaging 9.3 and 7.2 rebounds. The 6-10 power forward out of Duke was a second-round pick of Portland in the 2007 NBA Draft. McRoberts was assigned to the Stampede by the Blazers in January of his rookie year and played 15 games, averaging 7.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. He was with the team when it won its lone D-League championship that spring. McRoberts’ NBA career has also included stops with the Pacers and Lakers.
This Day In Sports…July 8, 2010:
The overblown courtship of one of the NBA’s top free agents of all-time, LeBron James, comes to an end on a manufactured one-hour ESPN special called “The Decision.” James announced that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons to join fellow free agent Chris Bosh and incumbent superstar Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat. Cleveland was bitterly disappointed by James’ departure—he was a high school star in Akron and had long professed his love for Ohio. The idea, James said, was to win championships, something the two-time NBA MVP never did with the Cavs.
(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.)