Sixty picks came and went last night, and Boise State’s James Webb III was not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Deep down inside, Webb’s optimistic agent, Charles Briscoe, had to expect this could happen. So there must be a plan in place. A logical one would be involve a free agent deal, followed by the NBA Summer Leagues in Orlando, Salt Lake City and/or Las Vegas. Those games provide a great audition stage. Hey, Stephen Curry debuted at the NBA Summer League as a rookie on the Warriors’ roster in 2009. (Curry was the seventh overall pick, though.) Two Mountain West players were drafted last night, as UNLV’s Patrick McCaw and Stephen Zimmerman Jr. were taken three picks apart in the second round. McCaw went to Milwaukee—and then was traded to Golden State. Zimmerman landed in Orlando.
So, what’s Mikey Thompson up to these days? Thompson, who also finished his Boise State career in March, has signed with MBK Banik Handlova in the top league in Slovakia, the Slovak Extraliga. Interestingly enough, MBK Banik Handlova took last season off while its home arena was being renovated. Thompson averaged 11.9 and 3.8 assists as a senior for the Broncos and was a 1,000-point career scorer. This spring he played eight games for the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars team at the Four Nations Tournament in China. The USA squad won the title over teams from Canada, China and Lithuania, with Thompson averaging 5.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists during the tournament.
David Wacker still has three years to play for Boise State after being granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA. The 6-10 forward from Converse, TX, is able to utilize his redshirt year after suffering a broken bone and a strain in his left foot during practice the first week of December. Wacker played just seven games before being sidelined, averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds. He’ll be a sophomore in eligibility next season. The Broncos will be anxious to see who steps up out of their big man group: Wacker, Robin Jorch or Zach Haney. At least one of them will have to.
The date has been set for the reunion of the undefeated 2006 Boise State team that upset Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. The entire squad has been invited back to Albertsons Stadium for on-field recognition during halftime of the Broncos’ Homecoming game against Colorado State on October 15. This year’s other major celebration marks the 30th anniversary of the blue turf—Boise State’s 30-Year All-Blue team will be announced at the Washington State game September 10.
Special teams are up this week in balloting for the 30-Year All-Blue team. It’s difficult to narrow Boise State’s punt and kickoff returners of the past three decades down to just one guy, but those are the parameters. The two players on the list who stand out the most are Chris Carr and Quinton Jones (as good as Doug Martin was returning kickoffs, he just didn’t do it that often). Carr was a punt returner extraordinaire and is the Broncos’ career leader with a 19.8-yard average. Jones was a workhouse as a returner, taking back 75 kickoffs over three years. And he was a Sporting News second-team All-American as a punt returner in 2005, when twice he took it to the house from 92 yards away. The second time was in the MPC Computers Bowl when Jones launched a wild Boise State comeback that fell short.
Oregon State has been looking for depth—any kind of depth—behind presumed starting quarterback Darell Garretson (the former Utah State QB). The Beavers thought they had some with preferred walk-on junior college transfer Daniel Prieto, but he has become a surprisingly late flip from OSU to San Diego State. Hard to say what Prieto, a true sophomore from Compton College, could have done for the Beavs, as he’s only 6-0, 173 pounds. We’ll see if he can push the Aztecs anointed starter, Christian Chapman.
The old phrase “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” comes to mind. The initial sprint over the first week of the season has not been not very kind to the Boise Hawks. Last night in Everett, the Hawks’ bats were grounded in a 9-2 loss to the AquaSox. It’s a 76-game season, but for a Boise club that went 30-46 last season, a 2-5 start doesn’t feel so good. The Hawks’ five-game series in Everett continues tonight.
Troy Merritt, the defending champion at the Quicken Loans National, is not having a championship experience after the first round this year. Merritt came in at even-par 71 yesterday and is tied for 72nd at Congressional Country Club. The former Boise State star did finish strong, though, posting back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 before parring the final two holes. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge is in a tie for 83rd after a one-over 72.
The 2016 Idaho Men’s Amateur takes over Banbury in Eagle today through Sunday. They’re calling it the strongest field in the tournament’s history, which dates back to 1929. Ammon’s Andrew Hess won last year by one stroke over Meridian’s Jesse Hibler, Boise’s Gilbert Livas Jr., and Idaho Falls’ Tanner Priest. All four golfers return this week. But the real story line may be the young guns in the field, led by Auburn’s Graysen Huff, Washington State’s Derek Bayley and Texas A&M-bound Josh Gliege. Of course, the Men’s Am would not be complete without the standard bearer of the old guard, Weiser’s Joe Malay, known for his, shall we say, unconventional golf wear. He will not be wearing khakis and a polo short. Malay, by the way, is now 67 years old.
Boise’s Kristin Armstrong is headed to her fourth Olympics, with a chance at a third time trial gold medal at the Summer Games in Rio. The lure of the Olympic rings brought Armstrong out of retirement again last year, and she followed with a 2015 national time trial championship. She finished third at this year’s nationals but was still named to U.S. Women’s Olympic cycling team yesterday. Armstrong will compete in both the road race and time trial in Rio and will turn 43 years old the day after her competition is done. She will be the oldest women’s Olympic cyclist in U.S. history.
This Day In Sports…June 24, 2013:
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins in the first Stanley Cup Final between Original Six teams in 34 years. The Blackhawks scored two goals 17 seconds apart in the final 1:16 of Game 6 for a 3-2 win and a four games-to-two series victory for the Cup. It was Chicago’s second championship in four years, capping a lockout-shortened season that saw the Blackhawks begin with a 24-game unbeaten streak.
(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.)