Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
I was one of those waiting for the KTIK interview with Orlando Scandrick yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. It wasn’t really an olive branch to Boise State fans from the Dallas Cowboys cornerback, because Scandrick claimed there was no need for one. Scandrick has rankled the Bronco faithful by introducing himself on NFL Sunday Night and Monday Night Football during the starting lineups as, “Orlando Scandrick, Los Alamitos High School.” His explanation: “I thought it was important—I went to a great high school, and sometimes the high schools are forgotten. It was nothing against Boise. I love Boise.” My take: There was indeed something going on there, but Scandrick wants to let bygones be bygones. And I’m good with that.
Scandrick said he was looking forward to his trip to Boise, with an autograph-signing scheduled Saturday at the Blue & Orange Store with Seattle Seahawk Jeron Johnson. The recurring theme was that Scandrick is really anxious to spend time with Chis Petersen. “Me and Coach Pete have had great talks (since I left Boise State),” said Scandrick. “I thought it was important to come back and see Coach Pete and get to talk to him.” Scandrick believes he left the Broncos on good terms and doesn’t think Petersen ever said a bad word about him when he departed after his junior year for the NFL Draft. “I thought I was respectful,” Scandrick said. “At the end of the day, (Pete) wished me luck.”
Scandrick has received a lot of message board heat for his lack of reference to Boise State. But, he said, “I’m a Bronco. Once a Bronco, always a Bronco.” He said he plans on attending the Spring Game April 13. Scandrick is going into his sixth NFL season and recently had his contract restructured by Dallas to help the Cowboys’ salary cap situation. Now, when the Cowboys appear in prime time for the first time this season, will he introduce himself as, “Orlando Scandrick, Boise State?” Said Scandrick, “Oh definitely. I plan to.”
The offseason is underway for the Boise State basketball program, which is in pretty good shape. Leon Rice has two 20-win seasons in his first three years at BSU, the first time that’s ever happened. And Rice has 56 wins over his first three seasons, the most in school history (Greg Graham had 52), So what was the biggest day of the season for Rice? It may have been one on which the Broncos didn’t even play: New Year’s Eve. That’s when it became official that Boise State was staying in the Mountain West. You wonder if he would have even been around in time for a new Big West era to dawn. He’s already on the radar of other hoops programs.
At many Division I schools, there’s resentment from a basketball team over a successful football program, and vice versa. That has never been the case at Boise State—in fact, Leon Rice trumpeted the role in Bronco football luring him away from Gonzaga at his introductory press conference three years ago. I was struck at Rice’s meeting with the media in Dayton last week how that stance has only strengthened, and how he stressed that football notoriety helped build the Boise State hoops to this point. “When we did go places, people knew who we were,” said Rice. “We go into Chicago, and Derrick Marks knew who Boise State was because of the football program and the national attention that they've received. It wasn't like where is Boise? Who's that? I think it really, really benefited us to have that national name.”
Obviously, the Idaho Stampede would like really like to finish the D-League season out of last place in the West Division. The Stampede have five games left, beginning with another matchup at Santa Cruz tonight. The Reno Bighorns, with six games remaining, are a half-game ahead of the Stamps. Idaho’s final four games of the season will be at home in CenturyLink Arena—this weekend against Bakersfield and next weekend versus the L.A. D-Fenders. These next three are key, as Santa Cruz is 31-13 and in second place in the West, and Bakersfield is in first at 32-13.
The Idaho Steelheads’ fortunes have been opposite of their fellow CenturyLink tenants. Coach Brad Ralph has engineered a major rebound in his first Steelheads season, going into the final week of the regular season with 93 points, 22 more than last year’s total. It’s the biggest turnaround in the ECHL this season, five points better than Toledo. The Steelies play the San Francisco Bulls in the Cow Palace tonight and Friday before going to Stockton Saturday. And the Steelheads have Austin Fyten back from the AHL. The 21-year-old forward is still Idaho’s third-leading scorer, with 16 goals and 24 assists in 43 games before his callup to Texas.
Where is Cody Lampl now? Well, the Ketchum native—and the first true Idahoan ever to suit up for the Idaho Steelheads—is a member of the Toledo Walleye. But he didn’t play in Toledo’s last outing Monday night as he served a one-game ECHL suspension for a kneeing incident Saturday night. Since parting ways with the Steelheads after the 2010-11 season, Lampl has played in the ECHL for the Utah Grizzlies and now Toledo, with two one-game callups to the AHL.
U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier made it official yesterday: Sam Querrey and John Isner will play singles and the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, will play doubles for the Americans when they face Serbia in Taco Bell Arena next week. The Serbians, of course, will be led by the world’s No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic. He’ll be joined by Viktor Troicki, Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic. (I’m writing these names, not saying them.) Courier is looking forward to the atmosphere—it’s not the strawberries-and-cream environment of Wimbledon. “It’s more like going to a college sporting event, where there’s a very partisan crowd,” said Courier. No yelling during actual play, of course, but it can get raucous between points.
At the Sony Open in Miami yesterday, Djokovic was upset by Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-4, and Querrey was ousted by Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the world’s sixth-ranked player, 6-1, 6-1. Querrey is ranked 20th. His loss ensured that this would be the first time in the 29-year history of the Sony Open that no Americans made the men’s quarterfinals. Now Querrey points to next week. “We get ripped a lot for not having a lot of guys in the top 20 and the top 10, but, you know, we won our first-round Davis Cup,” said Querrey. “Hopefully, I think we’re going to win in Boise. I think we have a good enough team. I think we’re going to win that. I think we’re going to win the next one after that. I think we can go all the way.”
This Day In Sports…March 27, 2002:
Boise State names Oregon assistant Greg Graham as its new head basketball coach, replacing the fired Rod Jensen. Graham had been the offensive guru of a Duck program that had made the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Kansas three days before the announcement. He had been at U of O for five years under Ernie Kent and promised to turn the tables in terms of style at BSU—going up-tempo in hopes of getting fans back in the Pavilion. It worked for a while but then fan support faded, and Graham was replaced by Leon Rice in 2010.
(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.)