Basketball analyst, former BC hoops star and Bristol native Malcolm Huckaby grew up in ESPN’s backyard

Malcolm Huckaby/Jim Barbar

ESPN basketball analyst Malcolm Huckaby and play-by-play commentator Jim Barbar called Horizon League men’s basketball tournament action this weekend. (ESPN)

Former college and professional basketball standout Malcolm Huckaby was no stranger to ESPN prior to joining the company as a college hoops analyst this season.

One could say he literally grew up with it.

Huckaby — a guard at Boston College who helped lead the Eagles to the Elite Eight in 1994 — was raised in Bristol, Conn., less than a quarter mile from ESPN’s headquarters.

“I could see ESPN from my front porch,” said Huckaby, who has worked more than two dozen contests in his first year with ESPN including tonight’s Iona versus Manhattan Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball title game (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

“I walked by it a million times in my childhood, but actually never stepped foot on the campus until this year, so of course I thought it would be cool to work there,” he said. “But I always wondered if it was something I could do.”

In addition to broadcasting, the Bristol Central High School graduate (Class of 1990) works in the financial services field in the greater Boston area. He credits his mother with an assist in getting his broadcasting career started.

“My mom, Elouise, was on me for a few years about getting a job at ESPN,” Huckaby said.

“She always taught me to dream big and believe in my abilities to do anything I wanted,” he said. “She would say, ‘You have a deep voice, you’re as smart, handsome and know basketball as well as anyone else there. You should be working at ESPN.’ That’s when it became a more serious thought of, how can I get in there?

Huckaby, 40, played professionally in Europe for five years before suffering a career-ending ankle injury. He was undrafted out of BC but did latch on with the Miami Heat for a bit in 1996. He began his analyst’s career in 2010 with the IMG Sports Network, calling Boston College games for the school’s flagship station.

“I actually didn’t have an agent until this year,” Huckaby said. “Getting the job at IMG was a classic case of meeting the right people and taking advantage of the opportunity given to me. Same with my agent. He was looking to add clients, liked my work on WEEI and brought me on.”

While Huckaby’s parents still live in Bristol, they have moved from his childhood home, but only down the street. Geographically, they are actually closer to ESPN’s campus.

“Now it’s a 30-second walk to the campus instead of a minute,” Huckaby said. “My mom and dad, Elbert, watch every game I work and couldn’t be more proud. She is my biggest fan and my biggest critic, she lets me know her thoughts on my choice of tie and word pronunciation.

“I’ve gotten her to loosen up a bit on the styling but she still doesn’t want me experimenting on any new style of ties or clothes without her seeing it first,” he said. “She doesn’t want her boy going on TV looking anything but the proper way.”

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