The major professional sports have their free agent market. In the past few years, college basketball has caught the fever big-time with its own free agent pool: transfers. We’re not talking graduate transfers like the one Boise State’s getting from Fordham, Christian Sengfelder, but the ones who depart midway through their careers. The most visible locally is Paris Austin, the now-former Bronco point guard who announced yesterday he’s headed for the Cal Bears. The transfer scene has taken on a life of its own, with players being courted by numerous suitors, going on recruiting trips, and revealing their decisions. If a guy plays as a true freshman, and he’s good, look out. It seems he’s fair game to do as Austin is going to do: use an available redshirt year to go anywhere he wants. It’s just the new nature of the beast.
The slate is clean for Austin at Cal, as new coach Wyking Jones takes over without preconceived notions. Austin will be eligible in 2018-19 after using that aforementioned redshirt year. One roster spot Cal had to fill was that of forward Ivan Rabb, who elected to forego his final two seasons to enter the NBA Draft. Rabb played at Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, where he was a teammate of Austin’s. For its part, Boise State does not shy away from transfers. That’s what James Reid was last season. And now comes word from the Bronco women’s program that Kansas transfer Jayde Christopher is headed to Boise. Christopher is a 5-8 guard who played in 61 games with 21 starts for the Jayhawks. She’ll sit out next season—then she’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining with the Broncos.
Boise State has its first football commit of the 2018 recruiting class, and on paper, this is a good start. Safety Philip Mills of Paloma Valley High in Menifee, CA, has given his verbal, complete with a 6-3, 200-pound frame (what’ll he be three or four years from now?). Mills said yesterday on KTIK’s Idaho SportsTalk the Broncos have talked about using him at outside linebacker and/or nickel. He said on his tweeted announcement he’s “110 percent” committed to Boise State and is considering enrolling early next January. It’s still May, though. “Other schools—if they want to talk to me, that’s on them,” said Mills. “I really don’t know why I would change my mind.”
Mid-May would seem kind of late for Boise State to land its first recruit for the following year’s class. Truth be told, though, it’s about average. Incoming quarterback Chase Cord was last year’s first commit, and that came on May 30. Another QB, Micah Wilson, was the first verbal in 2015—on April 26—but he flipped to Missouri a couple weeks before 2016 signing day. The earliest commit to stick in 2015 was defensive lineman Chase Hatada on May 26. The 2015 class got off to a rip-roarin’ start when quarterback Brett Rypien committed on April 5, 2014.
Here’s some news: the Idaho Steeheads are not opening the 2017-18 regular season against the Utah Grizzlies. The ECHL schedule was released yesterday, and the Steelheads will make their debut at CenturyLink Arena on October 13 versus the Norfolk Admirals, who will be making their first-ever visit to Boise. But never fear—the Steelies will see the Grizzlies the following week on home ice for the first two of 15 games between the two clubs next season. Two other teams will be playing in Boise for the first time, the Wichita Thunder in December and the Kalamazoo Wings in January.
The College of Idaho went into Tuesday needing five wins in three days at the Oklahoma City Bracket of the NAIA Baseball Championships to make the NAIA World Series. The Coyotes got the first one when Hunter Hanson lined a go-ahead ninth-inning triple to beat Mayville State 4-2. But in a rematch last night with Friends University, the Yotes were eliminated, 9-6. Elsewhere, Boise State dropped a wild 19-10 decision to Weber State yesterday at the National Invitational Softball Championship Ogden Regional. The same day she was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week, Bronco starter Christina Washington was rocked for five runs over 2 2/3 innings. Boise State plays an elimination game this morning against San Diego.
Other campus doings: Boise State’s Brian Humphreys, the Mountain West individual champion, bounced back from his opening round 77 to card a one-over 71 yesterday at the NCAA Stanford Regional. Humphreys is tied for 59th going into the final round today. And Northwest Nazarene All-Americans Payton Lewis and Ellie Logan have been selected for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Bradenton, FL. Lewis will compete in his specialty, the pole vault (he finished third nationally last year). Logan, who doubles as a Crusaders women’s basketball player, will go in the javelin.
Former Seattle Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux was at Boise State’s Caven-Williams indoor facility yesterday for a “Fuel Up to Play 60” event through the United Dairymen of Idaho and the Idaho Dairy Council. It was a special event for a dozen Treasure Valley schools that earned the player visit for their participation in the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Babineaux was a guest on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday and said he feels Colin Kaepernick would be a better fit than Robert Griffin III in Seattle if coach Pete Carroll actually wants to make it happen. “He certainly fits a Russell Wilson-type of profile, really getting back to zone-read schemes and the moving passing game they like to run,” said Babineaux. “But to me, they’re both starters in the NFL.”
This Day In Sports…May 17, 1997:
A Gary Stevens 20th anniversary—Phase II—as the Idaho native rides Silver Charm to victory in the closest Preakness Stakes in 65 years. Silver Charm came from behind to beat Free House by a head and Captain Bodgit by another head to duplicate his slim win at the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier. But Stevens’ bid for the Triple Crown would be dashed in the Belmont Stakes—narrowly—by Touch Gold.
(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.)