posted by David Scott on December 9, 2013 6:00 PM
Jon Sciambi (l) and Fran Fraschilla took a pre-game photo that will serve as a reminder of their historic call of the Kentucky-Baylor women’s game.
Saturday morning, when basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla ducked in for a (much-needed) coffee at his local Starbucks, a gentleman in a Baylor Bears hat approached him with a simple message.
“Thank you for covering our Bears, Fran,” the man said.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Fraschilla said late Sunday, two days after calling the highest-scoring Division I women’s game in history, a 133-130 quadruple overtime win by Kentucky over Baylor. “We knew we had a good game, we had no idea it would become historic.” continue reading…
posted by Front Row Staff on November 29, 2013 8:00 AM
Darius Rucker and Frankie Antonelli, son of Debbie Antonelli
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Antonelli)
ESPN college basketball analysts Jay Williams and Debbie Antonelli on set
(Photo courtesy Debbie Antonelli)
Editor’s Note: The staff and family of Front Row and the ESPN Communications Department wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons. We share this post on Thanksgiving weekend in hopes you will be motivated to make your own “Hootie” moment in the days and weeks ahead.
“Darius said it was one of the best moments of his musical career,” said ESPN basketball analyst Debbie Antonelli.
Considering “Darius” is none other than long-time “Friend of ESPN” Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame, makes the moment all the more special.
On Nov. 20 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Frankie – one of Debbie and Frank Antonelli’s three sons – performed a surprise duet on the Wando High School stage with Rucker. Usually at school talent shows, Frankie, 16, does his own versions of tunes from Rucker’s vast catalog that now spans a successful turn as a country artist. continue reading…
posted by Laurel Daggett on November 14, 2013 3:42 PM
Hakeem Olajuwon (34 white jersey) and his Houston Cougars took on LSU on Dec. 29, 1981, in this example of ESPN’s college basketball coverage in the early 1980s. (ESPN)
“Greatest College Basketball Schedule Ever” – Click to enlarge.
Editor’s note: Welcome to another edition of Front Row’s #TBT: Throwback Thursday.
ESPN’s college basketball game coverage this week featured the Tip-Off Marathon of nearly 30 hours of hoops. This season, ESPN will be providing fans with more than 1,500 games across its networks.
A little more than 30 years ago, the network was touting the “Greatest College Basketball Schedule Ever” for the 1982-83 season that included. . . wait for it. . . a whopping 163 games. (The Marathon alone had 18 games or 11 percent of the ’82-’83 schedule in a single day!)
Here’s a cheat sheet to help you track analysts and commentators for this season.
posted by Mike Humes on November 11, 2013 2:00 PM
ESPN analysts Fran Fraschilla and Jimmy Dykes (Left photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ESPN Images – Right photo: Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
ESPN college basketball analysts Jimmy Dykes and Fran Fraschilla will have to use the lessons they’ve learned from their play-by-play partners in this season’s first for each. The two, who have never worked a game together, will take on the roles of play-by-play and analyst for South Carolina at Baylor (tomorrow, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN) as part of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
For Fraschilla and Dykes, who pride themselves on being prepared and knowledgeable, the assignment has added a layer to their pre-game routines: balancing the role of play-by-play between them to give fans a great viewing experience. Front Row had the duo interview each other to get a feel for how this unique assignment might shake out.
Dykes on first time meeting Fraschilla:
I met Fran in 1999 during his first year as head coach at New Mexico. I most vividly remember two things about those days. Fran used as much or more energy in practice than his players. As a player, you have to be embarrassed if your coach works harder than you and I’m pretty sure that happened on several occasions.
Secondly, it was a family affair on game nights. His two young sons dressed up as the small Lobo mascots and ran around the court as part of the cheer squad. Meanwhile, his wife always sat behind the visitor’s basket in the second half. She was as good as I’ve ever seen distracting the opposing team’s free throw shooters with all kinds of signs, spinning tops and anything else that would help the cause from that rowdy end zone section. That family did game nights like none I’ve ever seen.
Fraschilla on first time meeting Dykes:
I can’t remember exactly the first time I met Jimmy, but we became very well-acquainted when he and Bob Carpenter did a million Mountain West Conference games when I was coaching at New Mexico. In fact, one year, he did five straight Lobo games (three in the conference tournament and two in the NIT) and I thought he was going to move in with my family. Even then I admired his preparation for games and his passion for basketball.
Dykes: What have you learned from working with Brent Musburger on Big Monday? continue reading…
posted by Rachel Siegal on November 7, 2013 1:07 PM
Editor’s note: This week, in recognition of Veterans Day 2013, Front Row will present looks at various people and programs behind America’s Heroes: A Salute to the Troops Presented by USAA initiative.
ESPN’s coverage of the 2013-14 men’s college basketball season kicks off tomorrow with No. 19 Oregon versus Georgetown (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) from Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The United States Army Garrison Humphreys provides the “home” court. The setting is bound to spark memories for three employees now based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
Miosotyvette (Minnie) Colon (Production Operations), Guy Pumphrey (Transmission) and Kyle Tessada (Global Security) each either spent time at Camp Humphreys or on a South Korean U.S. military base. Colon was stationed in Seoul from 2007 to 2008; Pumphrey was stationed in Korea for two years (1992-94) and spent two months at Camp Humphreys for a satellite course; and Tessada was stationed at Camp Humphreys from March 1998 to January 1999.
What are your most cherished memories about being in South Korea and at that base? continue reading…
posted by Jay Jay Nesheim on November 5, 2013 8:00 AM
In the mid-1970’s, Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld were two of the biggest names in college basketball. Known as “The Bernie and Ernie Show,” the University of Tennessee’s dynamic duo averaged 50 points a game on their way to the cover of Sports Illustrated. But behind closed doors, their experiences were vastly different.
Director Jason Hehir (ESPN)
Bernie and Ernie, directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five) and narrated by Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, tells the story behind one of basketball’s most unforgettable tandems, and an unbreakable bond that remains to this day. Bernie and Ernie premieres tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) and will be the final documentary of the fall slate of 30 for 30 films. Hehir tells Front Row why he was moved to make this film.
You also directed the popular documentary The Fab Five for ESPN Films. Did you notice any similarities between their friendships and the bond between King and Grunfeld? continue reading…
posted by Sheldon Spencer on November 1, 2013 9:16 AM
The College Hoops Tip-Off Issue
cover featuring Andrew Wiggins (ESPN)
Freshman Andrew Wiggins’ collegiate basketball playing career is just beginning this month at Kansas, but the Canadian’s hoops star’s future seems like a foregone conclusion. The subtitle of “ESPN The Magazine’s College Tip-Off Issue,” on newsstands today, reads: “Or let’s just call it what it is: The 2014 NBA Draft Preview Featuring Kansas Phenom Andrew Wiggins.”
Elena Bergeron, staff writer for The Mag, wrote the cover story profiling Wiggins, also available now on ESPN.com. Bergeron and Jennifer Holmes, a Mag senior editor, tell Front Row how this feature and issue came together.
How much access did you get to Wiggins? continue reading…
posted by Gracie Blackburn on October 18, 2013 2:19 PM
In 2009 when he was coaching at Virginia Tech, current ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg (black shirt) surprised a Midnight Madness crowd by performing in an inflatable “Hokie Bird” suit. (Photo courtesy VT Athletics)
Tonight beginning at 9 ET, ESPNU will air four hours of Midnight Madness events from nine schools around the country. Front Row caught up with several of ESPN’s college basketball analysts who were coaches at Division I schools for their perspectives on Midnight Madness.
Bruce Pearl, former head coach at Tennessee, UW-Milwaukee:
Midnight Madness was a celebration on our campus – with our student body and fans – that college basketball was back. I will never forget putting on the sumo wrestling outfit [at Tennessee] and body slamming a worthy opponent from the student body. continue reading…
posted by Gracie Blackburn on October 16, 2013 4:57 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Today, all 15 ACC head men’s basketball coaches, mascots and two key players from each team descended upon the ESPNU studios for the ESPNU Basketball Media Days Special. Over the next four days, ESPNU will cover six conferences’ basketball media days including ACC, American, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Enjoy 12 snapshots from the day.
1. And then there were 15 . . .
This is the fourth year that the ACC head coaches have previewed the season with a visit to ESPNU for the network’s media day coverage. Last year, all 12 coaches were on hand, and this year, three coaches made the trip for the first time.
(Travis Bell/ESPN Images)
2. Roll out the Red Carpet continue reading…
posted by Keri Potts on June 19, 2013 3:00 PM
New ESPN Insider and multiplatform reporter
Jeff Goodman (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Though it’s the college basketball offseason, there is no summer slowdown when it comes to ESPN adding top talent to its reporting roster. The newest member of the team is Insider and multiplatform reporter, Jeff Goodman.
The Boston native, who has worked for the Associated Press, Scout.com, FoxSports.com, and most recently, CBSSports.com, fell in love with journalism in his teens, and college basketball, during his studies at the University of Arizona. Goodman, who is quite active on Twitter (@GoodmanESPN), is already making his mark with breaking news such as this from yesterday on Georgetown’s Greg Whittington.
Goodman visited with Front Row to discuss his new ESPN role and what’s ahead for the 2013-14 season.
What will be your biggest challenge here at ESPN? continue reading…