How about the lineup of camp counselors that’ll be teaching Boise State’s James Webb III at the end of the month? This ‘n that from basketball as summer approaches. First, Boise State’s James Webb III will take part in the inaugural Nike Basketball Academy June 26-30 in Santa Monica. Webb was invited after event organizers identified him as “one of the top 20 college athletes in the country.” Who’d a thunk it a year ago? Webb was an unknown redshirt sophomore, one season removed from North Idaho College. Then he came out of nowhere 10 games into the season and ended up Mountain West Newcomer of the Year. This is a big deal for Webb. In years past, Nike hosted a series of skills academies branded under the names of Nike’s top basketball athletes. This summer there will be just one event—and how about this lineup of camp counselors? Among those expected to teach at the academy are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis.
Catching up on Derrick Marks: the former Boise State star has been training in Santa Barbara with BDA Sports through his agent, Bill Duffy, who also represents a number of potential lottery picks. Marks is said to be getting looks as a potential second-round pick in the NBA Draft and is a definite candidate for NBA Summer League rosters. The Mountain West Player of the Year has already worked out for the L.A. Clippers and Brooklyn Nets, and he has workouts coming up with the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz. Hey—maybe he signs with the Jazz and ends up in Boise with the Idaho Stampede.
Igor Hadziomerovic, who finished his Boise State career in March, left Boise late last week to return to Australia. Next, Iggy will go to an “identification camp” in Italy next month. He has signed with an agent and will entertain offers from teams in Australia and Europe, as he is a dual citizen of Bosnia and Australia. That’s an advantage for Hadziomerovic—it’s much easier for players of European descent to get contracts over there as clubs often have to use exemptions to sign foreigners. Fellow Aussie Nick Duncan leaves today to return to his homeland, where he will be part of Australia’s 16-man selection camp for the World University Games. Twelve players will be chosen for the team, which will compete in South Korea July 3-14. Hadziomerovic has been down that road, having helped Australia to a silver medal in the 2013 World University Games.
Finally on the Bronco front, incoming freshmen Paris Austin and Malek Harwell started summer school Monday and began offseason workouts, which include up to two hours per week of skill instruction for eight weeks. Austin, a four-star recruit from Oakland, led Bishop O’Dowd to California’s Open Division state championship in March with a game-high 21 points in a 65-64 overtime win, ending Mater Dei’s four-year run of state titles. Harwell, from Century High in Pocatello, was the top-rated college prospect in Idaho last season.
Bryan Gates has something cool to do while he awaits his fate with New Orleans. The former Idaho Stampede coach and his fellow Pelicans assistants are still under contract until June 30. But there’ll be a new head coach after the firing of Monty Williams. When current Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry takes over in New Orleans following the NBA Finals, it’ll be his call on forming a staff. In the meantime, Gates is in Camp Ganaria, Spain, participating in the NBA’s first Basketball Without Borders European camp. Six current and former NBA players and four current NBA assistant coaches, including Gates, are working with 50 top players—all of whom are or are turning 17 years old—from more than 25 European countries.
Dealing with the ongoing mystery of kickoff times is not unique to Boise State. Pac-12 teams have dealt with it all season long since the inception of the Pac-12 Network. Washington was just informed its home opener against Sacramento State, eight days after the Huskies’ visit to the blue turf, will kick off at 11 a.m. UW fans now know the exact kickoff times for a grand total of four games—including the 8:15 p.m. curtain-raising on the blue turf September 4—and they’re within a half hour on the start time for the Apple Cup versus Washington State. The rest of Washington’s kickoff times will be announced 12 days before the game.
Five former Big Sky players are on the 2016 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall Of Fame. Two of them are Idaho State alums: All-America wide receiver Ed “The Flea” Bell and All-America punter Case deBruijn. Bell, who played for ISU in the late 1960’s, is still the school’s career leader with 30 touchdown catches and is second with 2,676 receiving yards. deBruijn led the nation in punting in 1980 and 1981—his average boot of 45.9 yards in ’81, when the Bengals won the Division I-AA national championship, is still third all-time in I-AA. Former Montana great Dave Dickenson is also on the ballot. Voting will end June 20, and the 2016 Hall of Fame class will be announced January 8 in Scottsdale, AZ, in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship Weekend.
Facilities are everything in college athletics right now, and Utah State has hired a new athletic director who knows the drill. John Hartwell, the AD at Troy University, will take over for Scott Barnes, who was named to the same post at Pittsburgh in late April. One of Barnes’ parting gifts at USU was the announcement of a corporate sponsor for the Aggies’ football stadium and renovations for the newly named Maverik Stadium. Hartwell was heavily involved in new facilities at Troy, including a $28 million end zone addition underway at the Trojans’ football stadium.
Sorry I confused Fresno State’s Derek Carr with his older brother yesterday. I hadn’t done that in years.
This Day In Sports…June 3, 2013:
After coming close in six previous starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Borah High grad Stephen Fife becomes the first native Boisean to win a major league game in 45 years in a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres. The only other Boise-born hurler with a big league victory was Pat House, who recorded the last of his two career wins for the Houston Astros in 1968. For the record, Larry Jackson, a Boise High grad who won 194 games in a 14-year major league career after starring in baseball and football for Lyle Smith at Boise Junior College, was born in Nampa. A sidebar to Fife’s win—Yasiel Puig made his major league debut, going 2-for-4 and sealing the deal in the ninth inning by making a running catch on the warning track and doubling off a runner at first base to end the game.
(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.)