Tuesday, August 10, 2010.
The Statesman did a pretty good job of keeping this under wraps. But photog Joe Jaszewski can spill the beans today. Boise State is indeed on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s College Football Preview issue. Jaszewski was allowed in on Peter Read Miller’s shoot with Ryan Winterswyk, Brandyn Thompson and Jeron Johnson. You could say it took 11 years to get to this point. Not even after the memorable Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma did the Broncos grace the SI cover. And this will be noticed. In fact, I think I hear it being pinned up right now in Blacksburg, in Laramie, in Corvallis, in Honolulu, in Fresno, in Reno, in Moscow…
Today’s watch list watch: It’s Kellen Moore here, and Kellen Moore there. The Boise State quarterback is on the docket for the Maxwell Award, honoring the nation’s best overall player, and the Walter Camp Award, which similarly goes to college football’s player of the year. Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick is also on both lists. And Winterswyk has made the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik (or, as Caves would say, “Bedard-nik”) Award, recognizing the top defensive player in the country. Winterswyk is joined by the Wolf Pack’s Dontay Moch, the reigning WAC Defensive Player of the Year.
If you think Boise State being ranked in the top five in the Coaches Poll, one spot ahead of Virginia Tech, is the natural progression of things, maybe this will make you appreciate the magnitude of it all. Bronco Stadium’s Steuckle Sky Center addition cost $36 million, and that was an unprecedented athletic project in the state of Idaho. Well, Virginia Tech has just completed a new $18 million, 41,900-square-foot locker room facility. Yes, locker room. Writes Kyle Tucker in the Virginian-Pilot: “It is insane. So, so, so nice. Each stained-wood locker is seven feet tall and 42 inches wide. Supposedly, they are the biggest in America because coach Frank Beamer asked his people who had the biggest and said, ‘Make ours one inch bigger.’”
Tucker continues: “There’s a massive players lounge that’s going to feature six, 65-inch flat screen TVs and several video game systems. Just outside that lounge is a huge patio that overlooks the practice field and stadium—and features a fire pit and two jumbo gas grills. Insane. Said RB Ryan Williams: ‘Some guys might spend the night in there.’ Added Beamer: ‘We wanted to have the biggest and the best. I think it says something about the intentions of Virginia Tech and where we plan to go.’” That Boise State is ranked ahead of deep-pocketed teams like the Hokies is amazing.
Around the horn in the NFL, as some smoke is starting to clear. Former Boise State star Kyle Wilson is looking more and more like a starter at a regular cornerback spot instead of nickel with the Jets, as Darrelle Revis looks more and more like a season-long holdout. Former Idaho standout Mike Iupati is what we thought he was: really good. Iupati’s already been anointed the starting left guard for the 49ers. The smoke isn’t so clear for Boise State grads Derek Schouman and Legedu Naanee. Schouman, battling for a starting tight end spot in Buffalo, has been missing practice with an undisclosed injury. And Naanee, trying to take advantage of the absence of Vincent Jackson in San Diego, has been limited by a going injury.
The Boise Hawks have forgotten how to win—and it was all laid out to see last night in Everett. The Hawks had battled the AquaSox in a 1-1 tie that lasted into the bottom of the ninth inning, riding Cam Greathouse’s outstanding relief performance. Greathouse scattered four hits over 3 1/3 innings. Scoreless ones until the ninth, when Hawks third baseman Jose Guevara let a grounder get by him, putting Everett’s Kevin Mailloux on second. And one batter later, second baseman Pierre LePage’s throwing error allowed Mailloux to score, and the AquaSox won, 2-1. Greathouse was saddled with the loss. That wrapped up a 1-7 road trip for Boise, who comes home tomorrow night to face Tri-City.
The Statesman’s Nick Jezierny reports that new Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice has another commitment, and this one is immediate—he is eligible now. Ryan Watkins, a 6-8 center from Reseda, CA, will join the program this month after choosing the Broncos over Boston College, Northwestern and Washington State. At 6-8, Watkins isn’t very tall for a post, but the key is poundage—he tips the scales at 240. If you read between the lines, Watkins could play this season.
The local flavor will be back with the Idaho Steelheads this season. Ketchum’s Cody Lampl has signed a new contract with the Steelheads after becoming the first true Idahoan ever to don a Steelies’ sweater last season. His value to the organization doesn’t show up in the box score. Lampl scored only one goal with 12 assists in 44 games last season, but he played big, checked hard, and made his mark in the community.
The Idaho Stampede are understandably excited about their 2010-11 schedule, released yesterday. It’s the most favorable of their five seasons in the NBA Development League. Believe it or not, 19 of the Stampede’s 24 home dates fall on Fridays and Saturdays. The opener is Saturday, November 20, in Qwest Arena against the New Mexico (formerly Albuquerque) Thunderbirds. The Stamps will play two games at the D-League Showcase, to be held this season in South Padre Island, TX. With all due respect to Boise and its incredible hospitality during its two times hosting the Showcase, South Padre Island sounds like a pretty nice place to be the second week of January.
Former Stampede forward Anthony Tolliver has signed a two-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves—with some fanfare. The likeable Tolliver posted a YouTube video with the caption, “The Ocho wanted to do an hour special on my decision, but I decided to just do a 1 minute special at home instead.” He called it “Decision Part Deux” in homage to LeBron James’ ESPN special. Tolliver was asked which team he’s signing with, and he said, “I think I made my decision this morning…I was using the bathroom.” Then, feigning drama, he held up a piece of paper with “Minnesota Timberwolves” written on it. Tolliver starred for the Stampede last season before being signed by the Golden State Warriors, for whom he made a definitive impact.
This Day In Sports…August 10, 1971:
Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew, the pride of Payette, Idaho, hits the 500th home run of his major league career, off Baltimore’s Mike Cuellar. Killebrew would end up with 573 homers—now the second-most by a right-handed batter in American League history behind Alex Rodriguez. Go ahead, ask Killebrew what he thinks of A-Rod.
(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.)