Tuesday, June 1, 2010.
I mentioned about 2½ weeks ago that Boise State was scouring the countryside for its next-in-line at quarterback. The Broncos’ objective is one QB per recruiting class, and it appears they have their man for 2011. Scout.com reports that Jimmy Laughrea of Rocklin, CA, has committed to BSU. Laughrea guided Rocklin to a surprise CIF San Joaquin Section title and a spot in the state Division II title game. Of the jam-packed 2009 recruiting class, quarterback Joe Southwick was the first to give his verbal commitment—around Memorial Day, 2008. And voila. Around Memorial Day of 2010 comes Laughrea. The 6-2, 185-pounder threw for 2,635 yards and 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions as a junior.
Boise State coaches searched near and far for the guy they’ll introduce the first Wednesday in February next year. They went to places like Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma. But they found Laughrea on familiar turf in Northern California. His Rocklin teammate, tight end Holden Huff, was part of this year’s class—Bronco starting defensive tackle Chase Baker also hails from the town outside Sacramento. If Laughrea’s commitment holds, he’ll be the true freshman on the scout team when Kellen Moore is a senior in 2011. Joe Southwick and Mike Tamburo will be sophomores, and Grant Hedrick will be a redshirt freshman. The Broncos did not take a quarterback in their 2008 recruiting class, but they played catch-up with Southwick and Tamburo the following year. Things evened out after Nick Lomax left the team in August of 2008.
Some ups and downs for pro athletes with Idaho ties as we wrap up Memorial Day weekend. Davey Hamilton was as irate as you’ll ever see him after not making it through so much as a lap of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Hamilton called Tomas Schekter “an idiot” for trying to pass coming out of turn number two. In trying to avoid Schekter, Hamilton lost control of his car and slammed into the infield wall. Idaho’s most prominent auto racer thus finished 33rd—dead last. “It’s the second-worst day of my racing career, I guarantee you,” Hamilton said. “To have it end on foolishness makes me sick. It’s a sad day for our team.”
Hamilton’s team, de Ferran Dragon Racing, has had to make a tough call involving Hamilton’s next planned race. Davey will not be making that triumphant return to the Texas Motor Speedway after all. That’s the site of the horrifying 2001 crash that ultimately resulted in 21 surgeries on Hamilton’s legs, keeping him off the competitive track for six years. He had planned to go back for this week’s IndyCar Series race there. But de Ferran is a small outfit, and with teammate Raphael Matos also crashing at Indy, it only has the resources to put together one entry in Texas. “Rafa’s full-time and the team’s built around him, so I totally understand,” said Hamilton, who’s a part-time driver. “It’s a double hit for me.”
Graham DeLaet couldn’t have had a much more consistent tournament at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. After a trio of two-under 68s, DeLaet wrapped it up Sunday with a three-under 67 and finished tied for 33rd. The former Boise State star added $33,480 to his rookie season winnings, which now have surpassed the half-million dollar mark at $502,485. The Colonial event marked the first cut DeLaet has made since mid-April.
Former Boise State All-American Wesley Moodie and playing partner Dick Norman are into the men’s doubles semifinals of the French Open in Paris. Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra played to the home clay advantage yesterday at Roland Garros, but they were toppled by Moodie and Norman, who won 6-4, 6-4. The Bronco and the Belgian converted two of four break points, and that made the difference in an otherwise evenly-contested match. Moodie and Norman, runnersup at the French Open last year, take on Marc Lopez and Pere Riba of Spain in the semis.
One of the sweetest stories in Boise Hawks history has turned definitively sour, as the Detroit Tigers designated Dontrelle Willis for assignment Saturday. With the chances of another team claiming Willis and absorbing the rest of this year’s $12 million contract being slim, the D-Train could be in a career-ending predicament. But the former Hawks favorite is reportedly getting feelers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. If nobody claims Willis by a week from today, he’d become a free agent and the D’Backs, for example, could sign him and pay him the major league minimum—with the Tigers responsible for the rest of his salary.
The fall from prominence has been stunning for Willis. He made the big leagues with the Florida Marlins less than two years after getting the Opening Night start for the Hawks when they kicked off the Chicago Cubs era in 2001. Willis would be National League Rookie of the Year in 2003 and get a World Series ring to boot. He was a 22-game winner in 2005 and signed a three-year, $29 million contract with Detroit in December of 2007, a few weeks after the Tigers got him as part of the Miguel Cabrera trade. But the D-Train has gone 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA in less than three seasons with Detroit, marked by shocking problems finding home plate. May was the exclamation point—Willis was 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA, giving up 23 hits and 17 walks in just 19 1/3 innings.
With all that said, maybe this is the start of something big for Andrew Cashner. The Cubs’ 2008 first round draft pick, who made six appearances for the Hawks in his first pro season, was called up by Chicago yesterday and made his major league debut in Pittsburgh. Cashner threw one pitch, but it induced fellow former Hawk Ronny Cedeno to pop up, ending the eighth inning with two Pirates on base. A lot of folks in Chicago are excited about Cashner, especially with the 3-0 record and 0.86 ERA he produced for Triple-A Iowa.
This Day In Sports…June 1, 1979:
The Seattle Supersonics beat Washington, 97-93, to win the NBA Finals in five games. It was the only NBA championship for Seattle, led by Jack Sikma, Gus Williams, and Downtown Fred Brown off the bench. The Bullets were coached by Dick Motta, the pride of Fish Haven, Idaho, who guided Grace High School to the 1959 Idaho Class AA championship.
(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.)