BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Raise your hand if you’re rooting for Octavius Evans to get back on the field for Boise State. It has to be maddening for him as he tries to get healthy. Evans didn’t suit up for the Broncos’ spring game last Saturday, almost a year after he was awarded jersey No. 1 before the 2018 event. That day he proceeded to make five catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and fans anointed him as Cedrick Wilson’s heir-apparent at wide receiver. There was hope all the way through last season that Evans would get back into the lineup, so Boise State kept him active, and he appeared in five games. It turned out to cost him a year of eligibility—if it had been four games, Evans would have been able to use a redshirt year.
Evans looked like a feature receiver candidate coming out of spring ball last year, but he had just two catches for 12 yards during the 2018 season and didn’t play again after the Colorado State game in October. That after a promising true freshman season in 2017 that produced 15 grabs for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Now—hopefully in fall camp—Evans will try to pry his way back into a wide receiver rotation that will include John Hightower, Khalil Shakir, CT Thomas, Akilian Butler and promising redshirt freshman Stefan Cobbs, among others.
STOCK APPEARS TO BE BACK UP FOR MATTISON
We’re now just two weeks away from the NFL Draft. Pins-and-needles time, perhaps, for former Boise State star Alexander Mattison. But his improvement in the 40-yard dash at the Broncos’ Pro Day has cast him in a more favorable light. The latest projection by NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein has Mattison going in the fourth round. Writes Zierlein: “While he has the ability to create yards for himself with adequate elusiveness and power, he's not a slasher or banger by NFL standards and he lacks burst to produce chunk plays on a regular basis. Mattison is a jack-of-all-trades backup with the ability to step into a heavy-duty role if called upon. His talent as a pass-catcher could move him up the running back food-chain.”
STEELHEADS SHORING UP THE PLAYOFF ROSTER
A day after Colton Saucerman and his big red beard reappeared, there’s another key addition for the Idaho Steelheads as they gear up for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Forward Reid Petryk has returned from his AHL callup with the Chicago Wolves to resume his role as a Steelheads mainstay. In 52 games with Idaho this season, Petryk has scored 19 goals with 25 assists. He’s put up nine power play goals and five game-winning shots. Despite almost three weeks away, Petryk still leads the Steelies with nine power play tallies. He was ECHL Player of the Week the first week of January. Game 1 against the Utah Grizzlies in the ECHL Mountain Division semifinals is set for Friday night.
NEVADA GETS THE ‘NAME’ IT WANTS
Former Boise State Bronco Trent Johnson did accept an assistant coach’s position with Cal, but for awhile Wednesday it looked like it didn’t mean much. Chris Murray of NevadaSportsNet.com reported that Johnson and former UCLA and New Mexico coach Steve Alford both met with Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth. But by late in the evening, news broke that Alford had agreed to terms with the Wolf Pack. Alford was fired by the Bruins 13 games into this past season, but he’ll be seen as a big-name hire in Reno. Alford was a force during his years with the Lobos. He was 155-52 in Albuquerque and won six Mountain West titles (four regular season and two tournament). New Mexico was a Top 25 team when Alford left for UCLA. He should be very comfortable in his old conference.
DELAET WILL BE WATCHING AND WISHING
Former Boise State star Graham DeLaet was on Idaho SportsTalk Wednesday and confirmed that his targeted return to the PGA Tour is when the 2019-20 season begins at the end of September. “I was hoping to get back sometime this summer, but everything’s been moving along slower than I thought,” DeLaet told Caves & Prater. “But I’m feeling better every month.” DeLaet is still rehabbing his back after surgery last July. By this fall, it will have been almost two full years since he played a tour event.
DeLaet waxed eloquent about the Masters, which tees off today. When you hear him talk about it, you realize it truly is “a tradition like no other.” DeLaet played the Masters in 2014. “It’s the hardest golf tournament in the world to get into,” he said. And the best. “I don’t watch a ton of golf, but in a perfect world, I’ll watch every minute Thursday through Sunday.” And Augusta National is immaculate. “There’s not a course in the world I’ve played that’s in better shape,” said DeLaet. “It’s the one place that guys are really willing to share the secrets (of the course). It’s something that’s really driving me to get back out there and play.”
This Day In Sports…April 11, 2014, five years ago today:
The Los Angeles Lakers set a team record for futility, losing their 54th game of the season in a 112-95 loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers would finish the season 27-55. Then they’d break that sorry mark in each of the following two seasons, going 21-61 and 17-65, respectively. This game was symbolic of the power shift in the NBA, as the Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored 30 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Golden State would win its first NBA championship in 40 years the next season.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)