Thursday, Apr 8 at 1:26 PM
Thursday, April 8, 2010.
What we know about Kyle Efaw: he’s a local kid, a Capital grad who was dominant in high school as a 6-4, 195-pound tight end, defensive back and punter. He made big catches in each of Boise State’s two wins over Oregon the past two seasons, and was the Offensive MVP of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl after rolling for 29 yards on the fake-punt pass from Kyle Brotzman. Now with high expectations come comparisons. On the field this spring, he looks like a combination of two former Bronco stars who went on to be NFL draft picks, Jeb Putzier and Derek Schouman (both Eagle High grads). Physically, Efaw looks more like Putzier these days. He put on a significant amount of good weight during winter workouts, although the Boise State roster still lists him as 6-4, 229 pounds.
Both Putzier and Schouman could break it down the seam. But Putzier was a wide receiver his sophomore and junior years, and Efaw has the athleticism to be a wideout—if the Broncos had any room for him there. And hey, Efaw wears Putzier’s No. 80. Efaw’s blocking is becoming more Schouman-esque, though. Uh, one other thing. Both Putzier and Schouman could score touchdowns. The only TD Efaw has pulled in came from running back roommate Matt Kaiserman last November. Quite a memory, though. “It was perfect,” says Efaw. “U of I, Kaiserman’s my roommate, and my whole family was there.” Efaw’s goal for 2010? “Just be more of a reliable contributor to the team,” he says. “Get stronger and faster and be more of a threat.” So far in spring ball, it looks like check, check and check.
If Russ Lande is correct in the Sporting News Daily online edition, the WAC will have not two, but three first round picks in the NFL Draft in two weeks. Lande’s latest mock draft has Idaho’s Mike Iupati going 18th overall to the Steelers and Boise State’s Kyle Wilson being selected in the No. 31 slot by the Colts. But sandwiched in between is Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews, projected to go to the Chargers with the 28th pick. Mathews’ name is regularly popping up in the first round now. Don Banks’ latest mock at SI.com has Iupati 17th to the 49ers, Wilson 18th to the Steelers, and Mathews 20th to the Texans.
Anthony Tolliver started his season as a member of the Idaho Stampede. He’s finishing as a Golden State Warrior, and he picked a perfect time to register a career-high 34 points last night in a 116-107 win at Minnesota. The victory made Warriors coach Don Nelson the winningest coach in NBA history with his 1,333rd win, surpassing Lenny Wilkens. Tolliver played 45 minutes and went 14-of-22 from the field.
We won’t know for at least seven months how significant this is, but the Statesman’s Nick Jezierny reports that a second Boise State basketball recruit has asked to be released from his letter of intent in the wake of Greg Graham’s firing. Point guard Chris Kupets from Hills College in Texas has requested a release, even after being contacted by new head coach Leon Rice. Kupets joins 7-footer Ben Mills of Wisconsin in wanting to opt out.
Meanwhile, Rice has completed his core staff by hiring assistant Shaun Vandiver from Wyoming. Vandiver has been with the Cowboys the past seven seasons. All that’s left for Rice to secure is a director of basketball operations (and maybe a couple more recruits). His associate head coach, Dave Wojcik, should feel good about taking that job now. Wojcik came from Wake Forest, which fired head coach Dino Gaudio yesterday. Gaudio was 61-31 with the Demon Deacons in three emotional seasons since being promoted in 2007 to replace his longtime friend, Skip Prosser, who died of a heart attack that summer. One of the other members of Gaudio’s staff was former Idaho Stampede star Rusty LaRue, who’s been asked to stay in the interim.
While the Kelly Cup Playoffs take shape, the ECHL awards keep rolling out. Yesterday it was a monthly one, as Idaho Steelheads forward Mark Derlago has to make more room on the mantel for the league’s Plus Performer award for March after leading the league with a plus-minus rating of plus-14. Derlago had already won the ECHL Plus Performer of the Year honor. The announcement everyone in Steelies land is waiting for comes tomorrow: will Derlago be named ECHL Most Valuable Player? Today the Goaltender of the Year will be named. The Steelheads’ Richard Bachman is a candidate, but South Carolina’s Todd Ford has already gotten the nod as the All-ECHL first teamer.
Everything went great for former Boise Hawk John Lackey last night—until he had to watch from the Fenway park dugout. Lackey made his Red Sox debut in the series finale against the Yankees, throwing six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, and leaving with a 1-0 lead. Boston couldn’t hold it, though, as the Yanks won it 3-1 on a 10th inning Curtis Granderson home run off Jonathan Papelbon. Former Hawk Ronny Cedeno continues to sizzle out of the No. 9 spot in the order for Pirates. Yesterday Cedeno rapped a walkoff RBI single in the 10th inning to beat the Dodgers, 4-3.
This Day In Sports…April 8, 1975:
Baseball’s first black manager, Frank Robinson, makes his debut a winning one. The Cleveland Indians’ player-manager hits a home run in a 7-5 win over the New York Yankees. Robinson would continue the dual role through 1976, ending up with 586 career homers, fourth on the all-time list (until Barry Bonds got there). As a manager, he’d go on to skipper the Giants and Orioles—and the Montreal Expos’ through their transition to the Washington Nationals.
(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.)