Derrick Alston’s statement was carefully-worded as he announced his declaration for the NBA Draft on Monday. He made sure he included “while retaining my NCAA eligibility and leaving the door open to return to Boise State.” Apparently the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee is still convening (if only remotely). That group’s evaluation of Alston will include a confidential projection of his likely draft position. He can also be invited to participate in workouts and tryouts for NBA teams, as well as the NBA Draft Combine and G League Elite Camp. If they happen, of course. Theroretically that will give him enough information. Correction on the day players can remove their names from draft consideration: it’s actually June 3.
Here’s where Alston left off with Boise State. He was the Broncos’ leading scorer this past season at 17.3 points per game and was also tops in assists with an average of 3.1. He scored 554 points, the 11th-highest figure in school history, posted double-figures in 27 of 32 games and reached 1,000 career points in the finale against San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament. Alston had 13 20-point games during the season, but none in the final 10 contests. As far as improving his game, he’ll have to address turnovers. Alston averaged 1.5 turnovers per game as a sophomore and 3.2 as a junior. At some point he’ll have to address his weight, too. Even though Alston is a lot bigger and stronger than when he stepped on campus in the summer of 2017, he still carries just 188 pounds on his 6-9 frame.
HAPPY 80TH TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP COACH
When he was named Boise State’s new head football coach in early 1976, Jim Criner was a 36-year-old linebackers coach at UCLA, a young-looking Californian. Criner is still young-looking, comparatively speaking. And yesterday he turned 80 years old. Criner led the Broncos from 1976-83, with the 1980 Division I-AA championship serving as the crown jewel of his tenure. It was a mistake turned golden. In a move he always regretted, Criner sent an illegal scout to spy on Northern Arizona in 1978 before a key November Big Sky game against the Lumberjacks. Boise State was banned from championship contention and postseason play in 1979. The staff posted a sign over the locker room door that said, “Those who stay…will be national champions.”
The probation-burdened Broncos of 1979 went 10-1—then the 1980 team had the payoff with a Big Sky title and a classic win over Eastern Kentucky in the Division I-AA final in Sacramento. Criner’s team made it to the I-AA semifinals the next season (when EKU got its revenge), then left for Iowa State after the 1982 season with a record of 59-21-1. He later coached in the CFL, NFL Europe and the original XFL. As far as we know, Criner is still a happily-retired fly fisherman in West Yellowstone, MT.
RAMS RE-UP WITH DEAYON
Stock rising for former Boise State star Donte Deayon. It looks like Deayon will have a legit chance to make the L.A. Rams’ 53-man roster, as he was re-signed to a one-year deal by the club on Monday. Deayon played in three games for the Rams last season and was in on 43 defensive snaps and 44 on special teams, making three tackles. Most of his four-year NFL career has been spent on the practice squad in L.A. and with the New York Giants, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Deayon is fifth on Boise State’s career list with 17 interceptions from 2012-15.
SECOND CHANCE FOR SPRING ATHLETES MATERIALIZES
There are more than 30 Boise State seniors in spring sports who had their final seasons yanked out from under them 2½ weeks ago. On Monday, the NCAA Division I Council did the right thing and voted for a blanket waiver for all spring-sport athletes to get an extra year of eligibility (including underclassmen). It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds. Schools will be able to offer less aid to seniors (or no aid at all)—or match what they provided this year. Each institution can makes its own call. I’d guess Boise State will opt for the match (not every senior will stay, as some already had plans beyond graduation). Teams will be able to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last years of eligibility.
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March 31, 2013: After 51 years as a National League franchise, the Houston Astros make their American League debut with an 8-2 over their new AL West rivals from Dallas, the Texas Rangers. The Astros were coming off back-to-back 100-loss seasons and had the lowest payroll in the majors, but on this night they made it work for new manager Bo Porter before a sellout crowd at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Back then, the Astros were lovable losers. Now they’re not-so-lovable winners.
(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.)