ESPN’s epic docu-series “The Last Dance” is over. The Chicago Bulls of today would be happy to get injury-plagued Chandler Hutchison on the dance floor. Hutchison was a revered individual as a Boise State Bronco.But major market media don’t pull any punches when discussing local sports figures. Such is the case with Joe Cowley in a recent Chicago Sun-Times analysis. “Was Hutchison overvalued by the old regime coming out of Boise State?” writes Cowley. “Maybe. None of that matters, however, if the forward can’t stay healthy and on the court. The ability that matters most in the NBA is availability, and that’s where Hutchison falls short. That’s not to say Hutchison is a bust as the No. 22 overall pick from the 2018 draft. The jury is still out on that. Bold prediction: Hutchison will no longer be a Bull by the 2021-22 season.”
THE CUPBOARD’S GOTTA BE ALMOST FULL NOW, RIGHT?
Boise State men’s hoops coach Leon Rice’s head is sure to spin during the first few practices of the 2020-21 season. Rice has to figure out how myriad talented new pieces fit in his program. There is yet another one, as Pavle Kuzmanovic has signed a National Letter of Intent. Kuzmanovic is a 6-5 guard from Loznica, Serbia, and will enroll at Boise State this summer as a true freshman. He helped Serbia to the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship and was part of the U19 team that made the quarterfinals last year. He played in the top professional division in Montenegro this past season (we trust everything’s okay with the NCAA, of course).
Jack Sears has some stature as he enters the Boise State football program, at least on paper. At 6-3, Sears is the tallest quarterback on the Broncos roster. He’s not very thick, weighing in at 205 pounds. Hank Bachmeier is listed at 6-1, 200, and Chase Cord is 6-2, 205. The playing field is rather level for Sears as he comes in to compete. Bachmeier would have had spring football to himself to grow and prosper, but the Broncos got in only three practices before sports shut down. Cord wasn’t going to participate in spring drills to begin with. The addition of Sears likely cements the status of incoming freshman Cade Fennegan as a redshirt this fall.
FACILITIES AND FINANCIALS
San Diego State’s nervousness over the status of its new stadium is symptomatic of college athletics in the coronavirus world. A City Council agenda item to approve the purchase agreement was scrapped Tuesday night, and SDSU worries the project could collapse. Boise State is certainly not immune. There’s a reason we haven’t heard anything about the January plan to remodel the east side of Albertsons Stadium. It’s a $20 million project that’s long overdue, but in the athletics department right now, its first things first. As in, pay the bills at hand. The long-awaited on-campus baseball stadium for the Broncos is also not-so-curiously silent. Money, money, money. Boise State baseball is destined to be back at Memorial Stadium for at least the 2021 season. Things were fine there this season—until March 12.
THE APPLE OF GRANDPA AULT’S EYE?
It’s all in the family at Nevada. This family, at least. Former coach Chris Ault’s grandson, quarterback Drew Scolari of Bishop Manogue High in Reno, has committed to the Wolf Pack as part of the 2021 recruiting class. If Scolari is successful at Nevada, it’ll make Grandpa proud for multiple reasons. Ault himself was a Pack quarterback from 1965-68 before embarking on a College Football Hall of Fame coaching career that saw three different stints at Nevada covering 28 seasons. Boise State fans have mostly hated Ault over the years, but he always had a lot of respect for the Broncos.
READING, WRITING AND ‘RITHMETIC
Ignoring NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores would frankly be a bit hypocritical considering some of the other stuff we all talk about. Especially since there’s plenty of room for sports news this spring. Boise State Athletics set department records for single-year and multi-year all-department APR numbers, with a 992 single-year score and a 990 multi-year score, each improving by one point over the previous year. The most recent scores, which include data through the 2018-19 academic year, saw 10 Bronco programs post perfect single-year APR scores of 1,000, while football’s 997 single-year score was the team’s best mark in 10 years and the highest in the Mountain West for 2018-19.
TENNIS TAKES A TURN
If character counts, the Boise State men’s and women’s tennis programs are up there right now. Broncos senior Ryland McDermott has been named the Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Mountain Region. And the Boise State women’s program has been named the 2020 ITA Community Service Award winner for the Mountain Region.The Broncos were tops in a pool of 23 programs from the Mountain West, Pac-12, Big Sky, Summit League, WAC and Conference USA.
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May 20, 1984: Boston’s Roger Clemens records the first of his 354 career victories as the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-4. Clemens would spend the first half of his 24-year big league career with the Red Sox and would finish in 2007 with the New York Yankees, under a cloud of suspicion regarding alleged steroid use. Despite seven Cy Young Awards, Clemens may never make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
(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.)