Hope you have a good pencil as you fill in your winter calendar with Boise State’s Mountain West men’s basketball schedule. There was just one date set in stone as the slate was announced yesterday—the conference opener against Colorado State December 27 in Taco Bell Arena. The rest of the games are “either-or,” meaning they’ll jockey between Tuesday-Wednesday or Saturday-Sunday dates, depending on what ESPN, CBS Sports Network and ROOT Sports decide to telecast. Hopefully it will be finalized by mid-September. We do know who the Broncos will skip next season (there are two every year). They’ll play San Jose State at home only and will meet Fresno State just once, on the road.
How Boise State hoops attendance goes next season will largely be determined by tipoff times for the marquee games. Late starts on snow-packed January nights against San Diego State and New Mexico, in particular, really hamstrung the Broncos at the gate last winter, as average attendance for the season dropped to 5,397 per game from 6,371 in 2015-16. The feature Taco Bell Arena opponents next winter will be San Diego State, who will be here either Saturday or Sunday, January 13 or 14, and Nevada, who visits Tuesday or Wednesday, February 13 or 14 (a chance at a Valentine’s Day love fest with the Wolf Pack).
Some former Boise State defensive backs call their alma mater “DBU” as a nod to the number of cornerbacks and safeties the Broncos have sent to the NFL in the new century. Lately we’ve heard “RBU,” as running back Jeremy McNichols joins 1,000-yard rushers Jay Ajayi and Doug Martin in the league. Maybe five years from now “LBU” will enter the conversation. Boise State has five commitments now for its 2018 recruiting class, and three are linebackers, as DJ Schramm of Clovis West near Fresno announced his verbal yesterday via Twitter. Schramm is a 6-1, 210-pounder who had five sacks among his 134 tackles and forced five fumbles last season. That fifth commit? That came last night from wide receiver Kazmeir Allen of Tulare, CA, one of the fastest athletes in the Golden State. More on Allen tomorrow.
Will the real Zach Wilson please stand up? Boise State’s new quarterback commit was reported to be 6-3, 180 pounds, by print outlets going off his measurements as a junior in Draper, UT. But here he is listed by Scout.com as 200 pounds. Turns out the latter is basically the truth. Wilson has put on about 20 pounds since his junior season ended—he said yesterday on KTIK’s Idaho SportsTalk he’s gone from 176 to 197. That’s impressive. IST talked to Scout.com’s Blair Argulo, who saw Wilson throw this month at the USC and UCLA camps. “He caught the attention of coaches,” said Argulo. “His stock was just on the verge of blowing up.” Wilson told Caves & Prater he plans on graduating from high school in December and enrolling at Boise State in January so he can go through spring ball.
It sounds absurd, but maybe there’s a method to Nick Rolovich’s madness. The Hawaii football coach has offered a scholarship to a fifth-grade quarterback. His name is Titan Lacaden, an 11-year-old who plays for a youth program in Kapolei on Oahu. Lacaden’s older brother, Jake, played for Nevada when Rolovich was the offensive coordinator with the Wolf Pack. Jake confirmed Titan’s offer on Twitter. Rolovich has been known to be quirky. I guess he’s serious about keeping Hawaiian talent on the island. All the way through 2028 or so.
Can they turn the faucet down on the Payette River? That thing is raging right now. But the show will go on in North Fork Championship VI beginning tomorrow. That’s why they call it “extreme competitive kayaking.” This should be the wildest one yet. The defending champion, Dane Jackson of Walling, TN, is back for the world-renowned international event this year. But fans will want to watch for 2016 runnerup Tad Dennis of Peachtree, GA. Dennis actually races in a C-1, in which the paddler kneels and uses just half of the paddle (one blade). Finishing second is an accomplishment in a boat that’s harder to balance. Among the local favorites this week is Meridian’s Alec Voorhees, who was fourth last June.
When fans consider the glory days of the Boise Hawks, many would say the 1990’s, when the team strung together 11 straight winning seasons and captured four Northwest League championships under manager Tom Kotchman. But others would point to 2013-14, for two reasons: Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Those two players were the highest MLB Draft picks ever to play in Boise, and they have backed it up in the bigs with the world champion Chicago Cubs. The Colorado Rockies, who took over the Hawks affiliation in 2015, have not been as eager to send their first-round draft choices to Boise. But you know what? It’s a moot point this year, because the Rockies didn’t have a first-rounder. The Hawks kick off their 2017 season tomorrow night on the road against the Spokane Indians.
The Rockies’ first pick in this week’s MLB Draft was in the second round (No. 48 overall), when they took power-hitting shortstop Ryan Vilade of Stillwater High Schoolin Oklahoma. Colorado had another selection later in the second round, taking right-handed pitcher Tommy Doyle from the University of Virginia. Elsewhere, Riley O’Brien became the highest draft pick in College of Idaho history when he was taken in the eighth round by the Tampa Bay Rays. O’Brien, a right-handed pitcher out of Shoreline, WA, played for the Coyotes the past two years after transferring from Everett Community College. O’Brien was 3-4 this season with a 2.15 ERA, walking just 23 batters and striking out 81 in 67 innings of work.
This Day In Sports…June 14, 2007, 10 years ago today:
With an 83-82 Game 4 victory, the San Antonio Spurs win their fourth NBA championship in nine years with a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers. There hasn’t been a sweep since. Only one game was decided by double-digits, but there was never any doubt the Spurs would be champs. It was the Cavs’ first-ever trip to the Finals—therefore, it was the first for LeBron James as well. Capping his fourth NBA season, the superstar averaged 22 points per game to lead the Cavs in the series. But James couldn’t save the TV ratings, which were the lowest in NBA Finals history.
(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.)