Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
Watch lists for various college football awards are just there for conversation. Everybody becomes an instant honorable mention All-American for the moment. Complaining about watch lists is a waste of time. But there’s one that screams for scrutiny. The San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out that the SEC has the most centers on the Rimington Trophy watch list with nine. The Mountain West is second with six. Boise State center Matt Paradis was first-team All-Mountain West last year—and he is not one of them. Explain that one to me. Paradis anchored an offensive line that ranked sixth nationally with only 10 sacks allowed last season. The senior-to-be from Council is healthy. He hasn’t transferred. He hasn’t been suspended or expelled. What is up?
These are the Mountain West centers on the Rimington Trophy watch list: Hawaii’s Ben Clarke, New Mexico’s Dillion Farrell, Nevada’s Matt Galas, Utah State’s Tyler Larsen, Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, and UNLV’s Robert Waterman. It wouldn’t be very constructive to point out the deficiencies of some of the aforementioned offenses, and Larsen, first-team All-WAC last year for the Aggies, is supposed to be a stud. But no Paradis? You won’t have to buy him a chip for his shoulder this season.
The University of Houston made it official yesterday. Lee Hightower, former starter at free safety for Boise State, is a UH Cougar. Houston announced 16 new enrollees for its summer sessions, and Hightower is among them. His exit from the Broncos was stunningly sudden last October. Hightower was featured at a Monday press conference the week of the UNLV game, talking about Boise State’s new all-black uniforms. He led the team on the field with the Hammer that Saturday and made four tackles in the 32-7 win over the Rebels. And Hightower was never seen on the blue turf again and was ultimately expelled from school. He’ll be eligible to play for the Cougars in 2014 when he'll have two years of eligibility remaining.
Imagine Stephen Fife’s euphoria last night when the L.A. Dodgers ended their game against San Diego with a double play, doubling a Padre off first base after a fly-out to the rightfield warning track. Fife had exited the game in the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead—and that’s how it ended, giving the Borah High grad his long-awaited first major league victory. The Dodgers had enough faith in Fife to put him right back on the hill with the big club upon the end of his injury rehabilitation assignment. Chris Capuano was unable to go last night, and Fife was called up again from Albuquerque. He allowed one run on five hits and struck out five over 5 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.
Fife, who was a member of the 1999 South Central Boise Little League team that made it to the Little League World Series, was a hard-luck 0-2 last season in his first five big league starts despite a solid ERA of 2.70. He had one start in April, getting a no-decision at Baltimore. Fife had been on the disabled list since being scratched from an April 27 start against Milwaukee with shoulder bursitis.
Former Les Bois Park jockey and Hall of Famer Gary Stevens isn’t worried about the spill he took Saturday at Hollywood Park and is all-systems-go for the Belmont Stakes. Stevens had to sit out Sunday’s card at the California track after a fall off Two Blue Hens during the seventh race the day before. He scrambled under the rail and walked to the ambulance after the mishap. Stevens mitigated fans’ fears with a tweet: “I'm A Ok. Thank God. Just talked to Coach (D. Wayne) Lukas. I reminded him I fell 6 days before Winning Colors Derby in '88. Good result.”
T.K. Kim, who completed his Boise State career a month ago, got his hopes up with a solid first round yesterday in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Tumble Creek Golf Club in Cle Elum, WA. Kim carded an even-par 70 in the morning round and was one shot off the lead. He then faded over the ensuing 18 holes with a seven-over 77 and finished eight strokes short of a U.S. Open berth. Meridian’s Joe Panzeri had the opposite experience, struggling to a five-over 75 in his first round before roaring back with a one-under 69. Panzeri was fourth in the 34-player Sectional field, five shots away from qualifying for a spot in Merion next week.
Graham DeLaet was planning to play Sectional Qualifying in Columbus, OH, yesterday after completing the Memorial Tournament in nearby Dublin Sunday. But the Boise State product withdrew, opting for rest at home in Meridian. DeLaet tweeted, “For those asking, I WD’d from US Open qualifying. Been a long stretch on the road. 2 weeks at home will be amazing! #Idaho.” DeLaet still likes to pace himself after missing virtually all of the 2011 PGA Tour season with a back injury. He plans to return for the Travelers Championship June 20-23. DeLaet is less than $67,000 away from $1 million in earnings for the 2013 season.
The Idaho Steelheads released their “protected list” yesterday for the 2013-14 season, submitting 23 players to the ECHL. The only entirely new name in the group is Connor Goggin, a 24-year-old defenseman out of Dartmouth College who was acquired by the Steelies to complete an earlier trade with the Trenton Titans. Goggin skated in 62 games in his rookie season with the Titans, registering 14 points and 53 penalty minutes.
Here is what’s up with Boise Davis Cup participants at the French Open. Novak Djokovic, dealing with grief following the death of his childhood tennis instructor, dropped his first set yesterday against Philipp Kohlsschreiber of Germany in the fourth round before taking the next three sets to advance to the quarterfinals against Tommy Haas. Rafael Nadal probably awaits if Djokovic can snare another victory versus Haas. Fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki was swept out in straight sets yesterday by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey were both dispatched in the third round in Paris. The Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, play Christopher Kas of Germany and Oliver Marach of Austria today in the third round of men’s doubles.
This Day In Sports…June 4, 2010:
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden passes away at the age of 99. The “Wizard of Westwood” won 10 national championships in a 12-year stretch with the Bruins, the final one in 1975 putting an exclamation point on his career in his final game. Wooden coached on character and principle during the most rebellious time America has seen in its youth—on a campus that saw its share of unrest. All he did in 29 years, 27 of them at UCLA, was win 664 games, including 88 in a row during one historic stretch in the early 1970’s.
(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.)