A day for stopwatches and tape measures

There are 19 recent Broncos hoping for ice water in their veins today as Boise State’s annual Pro Day unfolds. There are 19 recent Broncos hoping for ice water in their veins today as Boise State’s annual Pro Day unfolds in front of NFL (and other) eyes. The rigmarole begins with heights and weights, followed by the vertical leap, broad jump and bench press at the Bleymaier Football Center. Then players move to the Caven-Williams Sports Complex for on-field testing. Pro Day is pivotal for safety Darian Thompson, who did not perform well at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month. After being named North team MVP at the Senior Bowl in January, Thompson placed in the teens at his position in key drills at the Combine. Most important today is his time in the 40-yard dash, which was just 4.69 seconds in Indy.

Among those hopeful of catching on as NFL free agents later this spring are cormerback Donte Deayon, center Marcus Henry and defensive end Tyler Horn. Deayon is the most interesting prospect of the group, as he tries to show that his playmaking ability can offset his 5-9, 155-pound frame. Henry, a two-time first-team All-Mountain West pick, gets high marks just for being a good football player. One scout told NFL.com, “I actually think he’s a better center prospect than Matt Paradis was, and that guy is starting in the league.” Horn, the former Mountain View Maverick, led the Bronco D-line in tackles last year with 42. He also logged four sacks, two fumble recoveries and a 45-yard interception after being sidelined in 2014 due to a torn ACL.

Antoine Turner will also participate in Pro Day, exactly 15 months after his last game (the 2014 Fiesta Bowl). Boise State issued a brief release yesterday elaborating on the reason Turner, the Broncos’ one-time homeless recruit, missed his entire senior year: “Turner was held out of the 2015 football season as Boise State conducted an investigation in conjunction with the NCAA regarding a transfer eligibility matter stemming from his time in junior college. Boise State received a formal decision this week stating that Turner has been rendered permanently ineligible, and that no further action is required of the University. Additionally, no penalties were levied against the school. While Turner’s collegiate football career is over, he has remained on scholarship while continuing his coursework toward a degree in communications, and is expected to graduate the summer of 2016.”

Washington State begins spring football today, and coach Mike Leach has his usual offbeat take on it. “I don’t understand coaches who diminish spring,” Leach said. “Some are full of hot air. (Those who claim) ‘All I care about in spring is nobody getting injured’? That’s crazy. We have huge practices in spring, our longest practices of the year. Spring is when you lay a foundation for your team to be as good as they can possibly be.”

It’s not too early to zero in on the Cougars, who will be on the blue turf in about 5½ months for Boise State’s marquee home game of the year. WSU went 9-4 last season and beat Miami in the Sun Bowl, capping the team’s first winning season in 12 years. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in All-Pac 12 pick Luke Falk, and one of the best receivers in Gabe Marks. The defense is led by linebacker Peyton Pelluer, who topped Wazzu in tackles last season with 101. Pelluer’s dad, Scott, starred at linebacker for the Cougars from 1977-80 and played five seasons in the NFL before serving as a Boise State assistant during the Skip Hall era.

The Mountain West basketball season isn’t over quite yet, as Nevada forced a decisive Game 3 in the CBI Championship Series with a 77-68 victory over Morehead State last night in Reno. D.J. Fenner went off for the Wolf Pack, scoring a game-high and career-high 26 points. Morehead had pulled to within four points with two minutes left before Fenner drained a three-pointer to turn the tide for good. The Pack have now parlayed their postseason run into a 23-win season.

Mountain View’s Destiny Slocum got the start at guard for the West in the McDonalds Girls All-American Game in Chicago last night. The two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year scored 10 points and added a team-high five assists as the West ran past the East in overtime, 97-88. Combine this high-profile experience with her stint on the USA U19 team last summer—and the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn two weeks from tomorrow—and Slocum is going to ready for the rigors of the ACC when she suits up for Maryland this fall.

The Idaho Steelheads rebounded rather nicely last night from their two home losses to Colorado last weekend. The Steelheads potted three third-period goals and beat Utah 4-1 in CenturyLink Arena, securing a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in the process. The Steelies needed that for ECHL Pacific Division purposes, too—they now lead the Grizzlies and Colorado by three points. Philippe Desrosiers had another stellar night in goal, turning away 21 Utah shots. Desrosiers has not lost in regulation in his last 13 starts. The Steelheads defense gave him a big lift. The Grizzlies have been one of the ECHL’s best teams at putting up shots on goal, averaging 32 per game coming in. They managed just 22 last night.

When is Graham DeLaet going to land that elusive first PGA Tour victory? The former Boise State star has finished second three times since joining the PGA Tour, and he had a tie for fifth and a tie for 11th in his last two events. DeLaet was in contention three weeks ago at the Valspar Championship—then he shot a four-over-par 75 in the final round and did not register a birdie. “Once I break through, I hope that will make it easier and know that I have it in me, but right now I know that I have what it takes but I still haven’t ever gotten it done,” DeLaet told The Golf Channel going into that final round. “That’s the next step in my career.” The next stop is the Shell Houston Open, teeing off today. DeLaet has typically played well there. In fact, his first career six-digit payday came in Houston in 2010, when he tied for third.

Kris Bryant is a budding superstar not only because of his numbers, but his demeanor. The Chicago Cubs’ reigning National League Rookie of the Year and former Boise Hawk loves being a regular guy. Last summer he anonymously drive a taxi in Chicago, asking passengers if they’d heard of that new guy at Wrigley Field. Bryant recently posed as a transfer student at Mesa Community College and showed up at baseball practice, hitting moonshots in the batting cage and dropping the jaws of Mesa players suddenly wondering about their jobs. On Monday he helped a young fan get a date to his prom by holding a sign up to a camera. She accepted. Bryant has the “it” factor. Endorsements galore soon to follow.

This Day In Sports…March 31, 2010:

In the highest-scoring game in NBA D-League history, the Idaho Stampede outlast Rio Grande Valley in Boise, 165-153 in overtime. The Stampede’s point total was also the highest one-team outburst ever in the league—by 10 points. The box score was mind-boggling. For the first time in franchise history, the Stampede had three players eclipse the 30-point mark. Andre Barrett scored 42, tops for the Stamps that season. Donell Taylor had 34, and Mildon Ambres had 32. All five Idaho starters recorded double-doubles.

(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.)