STAMPEDE, BLAZER FAN REVEALS HIS THOUGHTS
NBA Fans - Blazers vs Jazz at CenturyLink Arena!
By Scottie O'Brien, November 19, 2013 – It all begins this weekend! Our own Idaho Stampede open this weekend against the Bakersfield Jam. Since 1997, the Stampede has been bringing exciting basketball action to the Treasure Valley. With some energetic young players like E.J. Singler, Richard Howell and Dee Bost, the Stampede look to be a fun local team to follow this year. Boise State fans - this is your chance to support our hometown favorite Jason Ellis back to provide strength and outstanding character to our Stampede team. Tickets are reasonably priced and the arena is top notch. With lots of dining choices in the area, a Stampede game makes for a great night out in Boise! Call 388-HOOP today to show your support for our hometown NBA D League Affiliate Idaho Stampede. And make sure to cheer on our NBA affiliate Portland Trailblazers, who are on a 7 game winning streak and hold the 3rd best record in the entire NBA! The Blazers are getting noticed across the country, with their balanced scoring, drastically improved bench and good off season pickups. Basketball in the Northwest – that’s what it’s all about! Please come out and Rock the House for our Idaho Stampede!
By Scottie O'Brien, June 21, 2013 – Basketball fans get your tickets while you still can! The CenturyLink Arena will be filled to the max when our Idaho Stampede hosts a pre-season NBA game for the first time ever on October 11, 2013! This is exciting news for the serious and casual fan alike. It’s a chance to get an up close view our single-affiliate Portland Trailblazers. With young talent like LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Batum and Damian Lillard, the Blazers are primed to make a quick run into contention in the NBA. Former Stampede stars like Victor Claver and Will Barton will show off their skills for the Blazers as they take on their longtime Northwest Division rivals, the Utah Jazz. Whether you’re a Blazers or Jazz fan, it’s sure to be a very competitive night of basketball, marking the start of what looks to be a hotly contested battle in the Western Conference.
Come and watch the NBA young guns go head to head in an exciting match up. The young, highly athletic Blazers will be gunning for a win against Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and a dynamic Jazz team. These two teams always bring excitement and energy. Having finished out the season battling for the eighth spot that was lost to the Houston Rockets, the rivalry between these two teams goes back to the days of Stockton and Malone vs. Drexler and Porter. And it’s intensifying, with the NBA’s Northwest Division continuing to dominate as the most competitive and talented division in the league..
This first-time event is sure to draw a crowd, so get your tickets early. Bring the kids to see Damian Lillard in action! Hailing from Weber State in Ogden, Utah, his move from Wildcat to Trailblazer only intensifies the rivalry between the teams. Named this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year, Lillard will continue to show Utah what they lost to our Portland Trailblazers! Check out CenturyLink Arena while you’re at the game and you’ll discover the best entertainment deal in Idaho. Our own NBA D-League Idaho Stampede will be kicking off the season this fall, ready to bring another year of fast paced, high flying basketball action right to our front doors! And being a single affiliate, we may get a glimpse at some future Stampede talent as well. I encourage you to look into Stampede season or multi-game ticket packs. It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends in a top-notch sports facility. Our Idaho Stampede bring good times, good food and unity in our community. Let’s show our support throughout the 2013-14 season. .
Let’s kick it off with the October 11th NBA Blazers/Jazz game and get this season rolling!
By Scottie O'Brien, January 3, 2013 – For those of us who are basketball enthusiasts, you cannot do much better than our own Idaho Stampede. Don’t let the win/loss record fool you. This team is the real deal!
I follow the team, and while my health condition prevents me from attending many games, the one went to a few weeks ago was a thriller. Stampede games are fast paced and full of energy. Players and crowds are enthusiastic, and there is a wonderful “close to the court” feel that is a part of the Stampede home court advantage.
I am always so excited to watch a game and be part of the great Idaho basketball scene. The team record will take care of itself as the players and new coach gel, but what WE need to do is get out and support the team, players and owners. These are great people who are providing a great service to our community. Whether it’s the “for three” shout out or “everybody clap your hands”, I always leave games with a hoarse voice! I’ve seen firsthand the difference we can make as our teams “sixth man”. So, please join me and MAKE SOME NOISE!
The sole affiliation with the Portland Trail Blazers this year is a real bonus and has brought sure to be big name future NBA players to the hardwood in Boise. Will Barton, Joel Freeland, Victor Claver, Durrell Summers, Justin Holiday, Sean Evans, Coby Karl and Justin Harper are just a few players to follow as they move between the Stampede and the Trail Blazers at different times. Another recent addition is Josh Owens who averaged over 57% career shooting at Stanford.
I can’t wait to go to my next Stampede game. Take the whole family. It’s a great time, you’ll see amazing basketball and you will be supporting a wonderful organization and some future stars. Let’s go out and “Run with the Stampede”.
TOP 5 REASONS to “RUN WITH THE STAMPEDE” by Scottie O’Brien
With a new season about to kick off, here are my Top Five reasons to support our Idaho Stampede:
1. We have a talented new coach with a record of winning Michael Peck’s record is 157-8 in 5 seasons at Henderson International School, and he’s determined to bring that same winning style to the Stampede.
2. A talented pool of energetic players, including David Bailey, Paul Carter, and Seth Tarver are suiting up. And look for even more up and coming talent ready to show their skill as this year’s team comes together to shake up the league.
3. Our Stampede’s sole affiliation with the Portland Trailblazers, allows for knowledge, strategy and talent to be shared between the teams. Some current Blazer players that could end up spending time running with Stampede include rookies Will Barton, Victor Claver, and maybe even Joel Freeland. Here in Idaho, we are hoping to see more of Luke Babbitt, who was a strong presence for the Stampede in his time with the team. Even Nolan Smith could see some time here in Idaho.
4. It’s a Great Deal! With single game tickets starting as low as $8.00, and season ticket packages as low as $210, there is nothing that can compete with the entertainment value of the Stampede! From time with colleagues, to date night, to fun with family, the Stampede has something for everyone. There’s even a fun place for little ones to play when they get wiggly!
5. Most importantly, the Stampede is OUR team! They are here for our community, and we need to be here for them. The Stampede Foundation provides tremendous support for Idaho youth, helping to “even the score” through initiatives in reading, basketball camps, support for Idaho’s Make a Wish Foundation, and incentives for student success, to name a few of the many ways the Stampede helps make Idaho a better place to live. Our Stampede team is actively involved in the D-League Cares program, making life better for individuals in our local communities.
On December 7th, our Stampede open at home against the Austin Toros. It will be a special “Pearl Harbor Heroes at the Hardwood Night presented by Pioneer Federal Credit Union”. Throughout the night, we will honor active and veteran military personnel. A special Color Guard, National Anthem Ceremony, and Halftime will recognize and honor members from each branch of the military.
There will be special giveaways for fans arriving early to get the house rocking as we kick off another Stampede season. Tell your friends and tell your neighbors!!
Join me on December 7th, and let’s “Run With the Stampede.”
By Scottie O'Brien, October 2, 2012 – After a lot of anticipation, both the Stampede and Blazers have new head coaches.
Terry Stotts will be an excellent match for a young, athletic Blazer’s team. He is returning to a head coaching position after five years as a critical assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks, where his offensive expertise and commitment to zone defense was instrumental in the Maverick’s NBA championship run.
As a player, Stotts started all his four seasons with the University of Oklahoma Sooners team, was an Academic All-American selection in his junior and senior seasons and an All-Big Eight Conference selection in his senior season. Stotts has long been respected among coaches, working as an assistant with the Sonics, Warriors, Bucks and Hawks. As head coach, he took the Bucks to the playoffs in 2006.
Kaleb Canales will return as assistant coach, where his defensive expertise and style will continue to unite players as in his stint as Blazer’s interim coach. He has a very bright future ahead.
Under the new, sole affiliation with the Blazers, the Stampede selected Michael Peck as their new head coach. Peck will bring a fresh look to team. He comes to the Stampede from remarkable success as head coach of Findlay College Prep Program at the Henderson International School in Henderson, Nevada for the past five seasons. In that span, the team has had a record of 157-8, including an unbeaten 65-0 run at home during his tenure.
Coach Peck will bring the confidence that the Stampede needs to become a top-tier team in the league. Players and fans alike can be assured that we have a coach who knows what it takes to win, and how to translate that knowledge to the basketball court.
I also think it’s critical to express gratitude to Coach Randy Livingston, who brought legitimacy to our Stampede team both as a player and a coach and energized our fan base behind the Stampede. His effective, inspiring leadership is appreciated and will be remembered.
We have a lot to look forward to this year, as fans of the Stampede and Blazers. With the sole affiliation, we can expect to see similar offensive and defensive schemes. This congruence will allow for fluid movement and promote effective team development this year and in years to come.
The rookies will be showcasing their talents, bringing youth and energy to the floor, and combining with critical veteran leadership to establish strong teams. Luke Babbitt continues to develop as an important part of the organization, having provided needed offense for the Stampede and a strong showing with the Blazers. A competitive battle looks to be unfolding in the Rookie of the Year race, with the Blazers Damian Lillard poised to challenge Anthony Davis and fellow rookies for the trophy.
Winning coaching staffs and hungry, competitive teams are sure to bring a lot of action to the hardwood this year. The conferences look to be tight, with a lot of teams hoping to move into contention. So, what our teams need more than anything is the “X” factor – the fans! We have the pieces in place to be legitimate contenders. Let’s make it clear to the rest of the league that as Stampede and Blazer fans, we know it! Bring your babies, grandmas, neighbors and friends. And let’s Rock the House! GO STAMPEDE and BLAZERS!!
On the schedule: If you are ready to “Run with the Stampede” this season, then hang on, there is basketball madness for all. This season’s 48 game schedule will have us rockin’ for 24 home games.
The season opens with a 4 game road trip beginning November 28 against the LA D-Fenders. After this warm up on the road, our Stampede will show off their talent at home for 4 straight games. The tipoff for the home opener is set for 7 PM on December 7 against the Austin Toros. Games will be played throughout the winter ending at home on April 6.
D-League basketball is a fantastic way to watch high caliber basketball talent right here at home. Season tickets start at just $210, with single game tickets as low as the cost of a movie. I like movies even more than the average person, but they don’t compare to the live action of a Stampede game. Special events will be a part of several home games this year. Those are always listed on the website.
The off season was an exciting one, and it looks like the talent pool will be plenty deep as the team roster is finalized. And, with the new single affiliation with the Portland Trailblazers, we can expect a lot of exciting action as players move from the Blazers to the Stampede, and a style of play is put in place to complement each team.
I hope our community will show true Stampede pride as our team celebrates 15 years here in Idaho! With good deals, a rockin’ arena, and marquee matchups, a Stampede game is a great night out with friends, family or colleagues. This promises to be a great year for Stampede basketball. Let’s support out team, our players and our community and “Run with the Stampede.”
By Scottie O'Brien, September 4, 2012 –I’m not generally a huge fan of instant communication. It seems that the old fashioned, written word is becoming a thing of the past. I miss waiting for the daily paper to read the stats from the night before, which probably sounds strange for someone so young. However, getting up the minute information has grown on me over the last year. I have really come to appreciate the variety of games, news programs and minute by minute updates available through NBA League Pass. With the convenience of NBA League Pass, I was able to watch and observe the Blazers’ young talent as they prepared for the upcoming coming season during this year’s summer league. What an amazing group of new players. I am happy to tell you that every one of the rookies surpassed my personal expectations.
Kudos go to our great coaches, scouts and others who had a hand in determining our draft picks. Assuming good health, Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton will quickly become impact players. Damian Lillard was a force to be reckoned with from the first tip-off of summer league. His skills with the ball demonstrated exactly what the Blazers need in a point guard. He showed he could pass the ball efficiently (5.3 APG), shoot the ball with great skill (43.8 FG%), knock down the three (37.9 3P%), get himself to the free-throw line (average 7 FTA), and hit those free throws with great efficiency (Total 25-28 FT). Boy, do we have something to look forward to!
The Blazer’s other 1st round pick, Meyers Leonard, proved to be a steal in the NBA Draft when he was selected 11th overall. He outplayed all of his fellow centers in the draft (10.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.5 BPG in 29 minutes). His work in the summer league, along with his incredible athleticism, has shown us just how much potential he has in this league. After watching his tremendous athletic prowess, all I could say is “My, oh Meyers!” The only thing this up and coming talent seems to be missing at this point is a nickname. So, let’s get some ideas going to share with the Blazers.
The star of the Blazer’s 2nd round selections is Will Barton. This guy showed he can shoot. Through the five games in Vegas, Barton was able to post averages of 15 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.2 APG in 32.8 minutes of action. That’s efficiency! This kind of production in the summer league is definitely a head-turner for Blazer and Stampede fans alike. I think we may be looking at a future D-League sensation in Barton.
All other Blazer picks give definite promise and these players could spend time in Blazer or Stampede colors this season. Fans of both clubs have a lot of great basketball to look forward to this year. These players know what they want and will definitely carve themselves a future with these two clubs.
Come on out and support our Stampede and Blazers and see these fun, exciting and talented players in action. Who knows – maybe someday you’ll be able to tell someone “You may not believe this, but I was there when . . .”
By Scottie O'Brien, August 3, 2012 – If you haven’t heard, the Idaho Stampede is now affiliated with just one NBA team. And that team shares many of the same qualities that make me a huge Stampede fan: a rich history as a small market team, team pride, community minded ownership and organizational leadership, affordable professional basketball, and most of all, an incredibly supportive fan base. I am really excited about the sole affiliation between our Idaho Stampede and the Portland Trail Blazers.
What I think is most promising is the creation of a true partnership. It is in the best interest of both teams to draft and develop strong players, and work to build strong teams. Being a devoted fan of both teams, I’m very interested in every prospective player, from the D-League to draft considerations, to the NBA. This opportunity allows Blazers’ fans to get a sneak-peek at the up –and- coming talent that the Stampede has to offer to our beloved Blazer’s franchise. And as Stampede fans, we can be assured that if our players are “called up,” they’re going to the partner with whom we’ve been working on an ongoing basis. The organizations can share knowledge and experience with one another. And fans and players alike can be confident that the Stampede and Blazers are dedicated to helping one another develop strong, successful teams and serve their communities well.
Stampede and Blazer fans have so much in common. I am confident this affiliation can bring us all together and strengthen both fan bases. Unlike some big market teams, where the fan base is divided, both Boise and Portland are communities united around our teams, hearkening back to the days when sports truly brought towns and people together.
One of the key reasons fan support is so strong is that both of these organizations care about their communities. Both the Stampede and Blazers have community service initiatives that players and employees participate in with joy and sincerity. I have seen this first hand, and it has given me encouragement and strength in my personal battle against a life threatening disease. To live in a community where the professional sports teams genuinely care about the people that live there makes me realize all the more why I love this game and my teams – the Stampede and Blazers. Having the unique opportunity to travel between Boise and Portland frequently for medical care, I love watching both teams. This affiliation will encourage Portlanders visiting Boise to come to Stampede games, and vice versa. I am confident that the sense of regional pride will multiply as this partnership grows.
For Stampede fans that haven’t followed the Blazers, I would like to give a little glimpse into Portland’s rich basketball history. The franchise entered the NBA in 1970 and has been in Portland ever since. The Rose Garden was built in 1995, and is a beautiful stadium. I’ve been to numerous stadiums around the league, and can tell you the Rose Garden has seating that provides excellent views, serves the best stadium food around, and a highly entertaining mascot that joined the team in 2002, Blaze the “Trail Cat.” Having been in the Rose Garden for everything from pre-season games to hot playoff games, I can assure you that even the most sedate fan will be on their feet with the sheer volume of enthusiasm the crowd brings. It’s contagious! And it doesn’t hurt that Paul Allen is the team’s owner, providing the team with financial strength and one of the most encouraging, supportive owners in the league.
The strength of the fan base is clear, as the Blazers sold out 814 consecutive home games from 1977 to 1995, the longest streak in all of American professional sports. The team won the NBA championship in 1977, and has been to the NBA finals twice since, in 1990 and 1992. In the 42 years since the Blazers team was formed, they’ve made the playoffs 29 times, including a streak of 21 straight appearances, from 1983 through 2003.
Six Naismith Hall of Fame players have worn a Blazers jersey – Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen. Three Blazer rookies have been awarded NBA Rookie of Year – Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks and Brandon Roy. If you watched the NBA Summer League this year, you might believe as I do, that the Blazers will have their fourth Rookie of the Year in 2012-13. Point Guard Damian Lillard, 6th pick in this year’s draft, averaged 25 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds for the Blazers in the Summer League.
The Blazers have had a lot of great players. While this is by no means is an inclusive list, some of the greats include Geoff Petrie, Bill Walton, Dave Twardzik, Lionel Hollins, Larry Steele, Bob Gross, Lloyd Neal, Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, Kiki Vandeweghe, Steve Smith, Danny Ainge, Jerome Kersey, Scottie Pippen, Shawn Kemp, Rasheed Wallace, Rod Strickland, Damon Stoudamire, Zach Randolph, and Brandon Roy. Current stars like LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum, along with several exciting draft picks, make Portland a very promising team to watch in years to come. Analysts around the league are naming the Blazers as big winners in off-season moves, marking them as a team to watch this season. Luke Babbitt, who has played with the Stampede as an assigned player, played very solid for the Blazers last season and is just one example of the exciting opportunities this partnership can mean for both the Blazers and Stampede, putting both teams in the spotlight and earning the respect of the D-League and the NBA.
So, Stampede and Blazers fans – we have a bright future ahead! Together, we can Trail Blaze our Stampede to the Championship, and Stampede our Trail Blazers to the Championship. Thank you to all Blazers and Stampede fans. I hope to see you all on the sidelines soon!
Scottie O’Brien is the self proclaimed “World’s Biggest Basketball geek,” master statistician, and eternal fan of the Idaho Stampede and Portland Trail Blazers. He is a budding sportswriter, with dreams of one day working as an analyst or a service-focused member of a professional basketball team. He is a diligent advocate for Mitochondrial disease research and supporter for families impacted by this often devastating multi system disease. He watches, analyzes and provides commentary on professional basketball every day of year, live or in reruns. Scottie credits the NBA and D-League Cares initiatives with helping keep his brain active and his cognitive function strong, despite the ravages of disease. His relentless diligence in brainstorming ideas to share with team leadership, analyzing advanced statistics, and sheer enjoyment of the game of basketball brings joy to Scottie’s life and lives of all who love him.
He loves to hear from readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scottie's mother, Kelly, wrote a letter to the Idaho Statesman to express her gratitude to the Stampede organization during the 2011-12 season. You can read it here.