Drafted by both the NFL (Giants, 1996) and MLB (Brewers, 1992; Yankees, 1995), the former Florida State quarterback (and two season Seminoles baseball player) cherishes athletic competition of any sort. That’s one of the many reasons he is able to host a show like UNITE that addresses various sports.
Kanell puts his analytical skills to the test when he and fellow UNITE hosts Reese Waters and Marianela Pereyra call the MAAC Rivalry Week matchup of Iona at Manhattan on ESPNU (Friday, 7 p.m. ET).
Kanell has called baseball games for ESPNU, but this will be his first time providing analysis for a basketball game. Waters and Kanell will join play-by-play voice Doug Sherman, and Pereyra will handle sideline reporting duties.
Recently, UNITE has been the postgame destination for ESPNU action with Kanell and Waters providing recap analysis, highlights and interviews with the game’s coaches and players. Front Row sat down with Kanell to see what he’s learned:
How have you prepared for the game?
We have been reading game notes along with research and media clippings of both teams and we watched several of their game highlights online. Also, we are going to go to both team’s shoot-arounds on Friday where we will talk to the coaches and players. [Note: UNITE also had two Iona players on the show this week -- see video above.]
What do you know about ESPN’s Doug Sherman, who will be providing the play-by-play?
Doug Sherman is a staple of MAAC basketball. He’s been covering the conference for nine years and knows the players and teams inside and out. There is a rumor that we are going to give him a UNITE makeover throughout the game so we’ll have to see if it that happens.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
Jim Kaat, the long time MLB pitcher and current MLB Network analyst, told me when I’m broadcasting games to imagine myself talking to three people: the casual fan, the diehard fan and the person who knows nothing about the game, and carry on a conversation that would keep all three engaged.
What is your biggest concern going into the game?
My No. 1 concern going into the game is that the viewers at home will have an enjoyable experience. We’ll be providing unique insight into what should be a fun game.
Do you have any advice for Reese, as this is his first time calling a game for a national telecast?
My advice for Reese would be, “Never talk over the play-by-play guy.” You have to keep those guys happy!