Tuesday, July 8, 2014.
More catch-up from my long out-of-town spell, with some thoughts on Boise State football recruiting. June is traditionally a month that produces a lot of verbal commitments for the Broncos. But this year, there were only two (wide receiver Laddarryl Blair of Dallas at the beginning of the month and defensive back Damion Wright of Los Angeles at the end). What's probably at work is the beginning of the separation of the haves and have-nots in college football. Players being recruited by Boise State these days usually have an offer (or more) on the table from the Pac-12, and this year Pac-12 programs have become shiny objects.
The impending NCAA reforms being hammered through by the Power 5 conferences are evolving into recruiting tools. Why wouldn't Pac-12 recruiters talk about the bright future that new compensation to athletes will provide? Prospects that may have jumped at a Bronco offer in June in the past are now likely delaying their decisions until they know what the power conference teams can really offer. The high schoolers have plenty of time. The commits Boise State already has are quality ones nothing below a three-star according to Scout.com, and one four-star in quarterback Brett Rypien. Can the Broncos compete with the Power 5 the rest of the way? Less than seven months remain until National Letter of Intent Day.
It s Watch List season can college football be far behind? Boise State running back Jay Ajayi has been named to the watch list for the 2014 Maxwell Award, honoring the nation s College Player of the Year. Ajayi, one of four Mountain West players on the Maxwell list, is coming off a tremendous sophomore season that produced 1,425 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. He has averaged just under six yards per carry in his first two seasons as a Bronco.
Shane Williams-Rhodes, the junior wide receiver and return specialist, has been selected for the Paul Hornung Award Watch List. The Horning trophy is given to the most versatile player in college football, and SWR is an obvious candidate. Williams-Rhodes had 77 receptions last season, fourth-most in Boise State history, and led the Mountain West by averaging 14.6 yards per punt return. He s one of only three Mountain West players tabbed for the Hornung list.
The Boise Hawks enjoyed their first off-day of the season yesterday (surely there were some guys with strange tan lines floating the Boise River). The Hawks are set to open a three-game series tonight against Hillsboro no better team to face now that they ve clawed their way back to .500. When I left on that extended vacation, the Hawks were 4-1, and Kyle Schwarber had just been called up to long-season Class A following a two-homer game. Then came the seven-game losing streak. Boise is now 12-12 with 14 games remaining in the Northwest League s first-half pennant race. And it s the Hillsboro Hops the Hawks are chasing in the Southern Division. Hillsboro leads Boise by, appropriately enough, three games.
The Hawks lead the Northwest League in hitting by one percentage point over Spokane with a team average of .275, despite having only one hitter in the league's top 10 (Danny Canela, ninth at .313). Boise does have the NWL leader in home runs, Jeffrey Baez with six. The Hawks pitching staff has struggled it's second-to-last in the league with an ERA of 4.47. Trevor Clifton is fourth in the NWL with a 2.21 ERA.
Could a former Idaho Stampede player figure into the quest to keep LeBron James in Miami? Josh McRoberts, a six-year veteran who was a Charlotte Bobcat last season, has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Heat, who hope the move demonstrates to James how serious they are about keeping the franchise s momentum going. Since spending quality time with the Stampede during the D-League championship season of 2007-08, McRoberts has become one of the most versatile power forwards in the NBA. But is he inspiration for LeBron to stay in South Beach? In Game 2 of the Charlotte-Miami playoff series in April, McRoberts laid a hard foul on James, a forearm to the throat as he drove to the hoop that cost him a $20,000 fine.
NBA summer leagues are underway, with a number of Stampede alums active at the first one in Orlando. Whatever happened to Pierre Jackson, who was leading the D-League in scoring when he bolted the Stamps for Istanbul, Turkey, in late February? He returned to the U.S. following the European season and was traded by the New Orleans Pelicans (finally) after the NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. Then, in his first summer league game with the Sixers, Jackson suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will be out until at least January and maybe for the season. Jackson had averaged 29.1 points during his time with the Stamps and poured in 58, an all-time D-League record, in what ended up being his final game in CenturyLink Arena February 4.
There are 10 clubs participating in the Orlando summer league. Also suiting up there are former Stampede players Dee Bost and C.J. Leslie for Indiana, Terrico White for Memphis, Nolan Smith for Oklahoma City and Justin Harper for Detroit. Bost was second in the D-League last season in assists, averaging 8.4 per game. The Las Vegas summer league begins Friday with 24 teams, meaning a a lot more former Stamps are going to get a shot.
This Day In Sports...July 8, 1984, 30 years ago today:
The British press and fans call him the Brat and McNasty , but in this case the only ill will on the part of John McEnroe is toward Wimbledon finals opponent Jimmy Connors. In the most one-sided men s final in 46 years, McEnroe dismantled Connors in just 80 minutes, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. It was McNasty s third Wimbledon men s title in four years.
(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.)
Great Divide now evident in recruiting?
Tuesday, July 8, 2014.