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.
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.
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…