Wednesday, July 14, 2010.
The Boise State staff has an undeniable knack for evaluating talent, especially untapped potential. If the coaches have done their due diligence with Rees Odhiambo—and there’s no reason to believe they haven’t—look out. Odhiambo, a 6-3, 298-pound offensive lineman from Mansfield, TX, has committed to the Broncos, according to the Statesman’s Brian Murphy. Odhiambo spent his childhood years in Kenya and has being playing football for just two seasons. Think Ryan Clady, who was only tabbed a two-star recruit coming out of high school by Rivals.com and ended up the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft. And think Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Geraldo Hiwat, who had hardly played football before coming to America from the Netherlands to learn the game—at Boise High and Capital High, respectively.
Odhiambo is Boise State’s eighth commit of the 2011 recruiting class. That’s a good start as the calendar hits mid-July—there are 19 seniors currently listed on the Bronco roster (including Kevin Sapien, who has had to give up football due to debilitating injuries). Odhiambo is the second recruit from Texas, joining defensive end Samuel Ukwuachu from Pearland. There are already seven Texans playing for Boise State, and most are contributors: Aaron Burks, Quaylon Ewing, D.J. Harper, George Iloka, Chandler Koch, Brenel Myers, and long snapper Chris Roberson.
You know what it’s all about for Nevada this fall. The Sporting New Daily online edition just ran its season preview on the Wolf Pack (No. 53 in the countdown). And here’s the assessment from Dave Curtis: “The defense still stinks. New coordinator Andy Buh comes from Stanford and inherits 2009’s second-worst pass defense in the country. He’ll enjoy coaching reigning WAC Defensive Player of the Year Dontay Moch at end. But Buh’s secondary is so talent-dry that Corbin Louks, last seen playing quarterback at Utah, looks like his starting strong safety.” Well, we’ll see what kind of progress Buh can make with that unit by the time November 26 arrives.
Two weeks away from the convening of NFL training camps, let’s talk about Richie Brockel. How many chances we have to do that remains to be seen. The former Boise State captain signed as an undrafted free agent with San Diego in April and has made it through the OTA’s to be included on the Chargers' camp roster. So where will Brockel fit? He’s listed as a tight end but will also get a shot at fullback, his primary position with the Broncos. Brockel can be tutored by fellow Boise State grad Legedu Naanee, who has played four positions (including those two) for San Diego. The problem is, the Chargers have nice depth at both tight end and fullback. With that said, don’t put it past Brockel to find a way to make the Chargers’ roster or practice squad. He’s one of the smartest, hardest-working players the Boise State program has ever seen.
The early part of the game last night was marked by lots of hits and no runs for the Boise Hawks. The late innings produced lots of hits—and lots of runs, as the Hawks rallied past Salem-Keizer, 7-4. Boise pounded out 17 hits, three of them by Elliot Soto, who doubled in the two go-ahead runs in the seventh inning. Alvaro Ramirez had three more of the hits, including his second home run of the season, and Jesus Morelli turned in a 4-for-5 night. Meanwhile, newly-arrived Dustin Fitzgerald tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win in his Hawks debut. Boise and Salem-Keizer play the second of their five-game series tonight.
A little “where are they now?” while we have a moment. Former Idaho Stampede star Luke Jackson is playing for the Atlanta Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, one of the older players to get a look at the age of 28. Ron Bellamy updated Jackson’s journey in the Eugene Register-Guard. Since his time with the Stampede, he’s gotten married, spent a season in Italy, and has his first child on the way.
Jackson wants one more taste of the NBA. He says in the story that the difference between the NBA and the D-League is the difference between staying in the Ritz-Carlton and “the Sunshine Inn with gravel in your bed.” Says Jackson, “Guys who go through the D-League have an appreciation for everything they’re given once they make it. It’s like a brotherhood, that you did hard time in D-League.” And he had it better than most, playing for the Stampede organization.
It was July 24, 1978. My very first night on TV as sports director of KIVI. It was going in cold turkey, from a morning show on KFXD radio on Friday to the 6:00 news on TV on a Monday. If you think it’s a slow sports time of the year around here now, imagine what it was like back then. Boise State fall camp, modest as it was in those days, was still 2½ weeks away. Fortunately, national sports were still a core part of local sportscasts at the time. And my inaugural night ended up having some major juice, as that was the day Yankee owner George Steinbrenner fired manager Billy Martin for the first of five times after Martin’s infamous analysis of Reggie Jackson and Steinbrenner: “They deserve each other—one’s a born liar, and the other’s convicted.” That’s my Steinbrenner story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
This Day In Sports…July 14, 1972:
A major league first, as the plate umpire and catcher are brothers in a game between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. Veteran Tom Haller was the Tigers’ backstop, and long-time American League ump Bill Haller was calling balls and strikes. The brothers kept their family ties separate, and the Royals won the game, 1-0.
(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.)