Enberg’s Play About McGuire Still Going Strong

Posted by jstevrtc on September 28th, 2010

Are you a college basketball fan, but also long to be a patron of the arts? Well, get yourself to a performance of Coach: The Untold Story of College Basketball Legend Al McGuire, a one-man  play written by none other than  the inestimable sportscaster Dick Enberg about the former Marquette coach. McGuire, who died of leukemia in 2001, was a good friend of Enberg’s as well as his former television broadcast partner. Enberg debuted the playat Marquette in 2005 and it’s been traveling the country since then, but we mention it now because two of its upcoming performances have special significance.

During its run, the play has garnered praise both for the personal and touching nature of Enberg’s tribute to his friend as well as the portrayal by actor Cotter Smith, an award-winning stage actor who you may remember most recently from the HBO movie about the life of Jack Kevorkian entitled You Don’t Know Jack.

The two upcoming performances we mentioned above are the ones taking place at Belmont Abbey College on October 9th and at Indiana University on October 23rd. As just about every college hoophead knows, McGuire led Marquette to the 1977 national championship in his final season as a head coach. Before he took the head coaching position at Marquette in 1964, though, he spent seven years at Belmont Abbey, the site of his first head coaching job. Enberg is an undergraduate alum of Central Michigan University, but holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana in the field of health sciences. The two shows at those venues will be special, indeed. Mr. Enberg — who we should actually refer to as Dr. Enberg, though he’d probably be the first to quell that notion — is scheduled to appear at both of those performances.

McGuire debuted as a college basketball analyst for NBC in 1977 with Enberg and Billy Packer, and is seen as the first real “character” in the realm of basketball broadcasting. He was always insightful and interesting, but the guy could be downright zany, to put it mildly. Who could ever forget this:

Enberg is one of many sportscasters who sees McGuire as having paved the way for future commentators to have fun and show more of their true personalities (we’re lookin’ at you, Mr. Vitale) on the air. Understandable, then, is that tagline on the playbill — a quote from Enberg about his subject: “He’s the most unforgettable human being I’ve ever met, and there’s nobody in second place.”

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Morning Five: 08.05.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 5th, 2010

  1. The University of Kentucky responded with some legal saber-rattling as a result of yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times article that alleged a $200,000 payment to super-recruit Anthony Davis.  In parsing the letter from UK’s attorneys to author Michael O’Brien, we find it notable that the second paragraph asserts that no member of UK or its athletic department “offered or paid any money or other illegal benefits to the [redacted] family.”  That’s all fine and well, but even the most naive of us knows that direct payments from universities to players is soooo ’80s.  All the money and illegal benefits run through runners and wannabe agents these days.  We’re not saying any payment of any kind was made to anyone in this case, and in fact it’s most likely that O’Brien simply soiled the bed here, but we do find it interesting how the UK legal team strategically phrased that paragraph.
  2. In the ongoing saga known as the trial of Karen Sypher, the defense rested yesterday without so much as calling a witness.  This is an interesting legal strategy, but it clearly represents that Sypher’s attorney believes that the prosecution didn’t meet its threshold of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The jury will now deliberate on what they’ve heard over the last two weeks and we should know the result presumably in the next day or two.
  3. The Legends Classic bracket was released yesterday, with Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Michigan and UTEP slotted into the semifinal round in Atlantic City, New Jersey during Thanksgiving weekend.  The Yellow Jackets will face UTEP in one semi, while ‘Cuse will play Michigan in the other.  Keep an eye out for the release of the bracket (featuring UConn, Michigan State, Kentucky and Washington) for arguably the best 2010 holiday tournament, the Maui Invitational, later this afternoon.
  4. Ready for a trip down memory lane?  This re-published Hartford Courant article from June 1986 discusses UConn’s fresh new hire, a fiery New Englander who goes by the name of Jim Calhoun.  The other two finalists for that (at the time) woeful job?  Fairfield head coach (and current Siena top dog) Mitch Buonaguro and Canisius head coach Nick Macarchuk.  Amazing.  Calhoun said that leaving Northeastern to take the UConn job was the hardest thing he’d ever done, a statement that seems borderline absurd colored by a quarter-century of history but made complete sense at the time (NE was in much better shape).
  5. This LA Times article about college basketball announcing icon Dick Enberg is mostly about his current gig doing local television games for the San Diego Padres, but there are several jewels in the piece relating to our game.  You can tell he has a deep fondness for the sport, referring reverentially to Final Four Saturday, John Wooden (“Other than my own father… the greatest man I have ever known.”), and Al McGuire throughout the article.  Great read; make sure to check it out.
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The Hypocrisy of ESPN

Posted by nvr1983 on July 23rd, 2009

Before I get started, I want to reiterate our stance against the scumbags who surreptitiously videotaped Erin Andrews in the clips that apparently came out almost 4 months ago and somehow remained unknown before exploding on the Internet one week ago. . .

As you may know by now the past week has been a particularly trying one for the sports media overlords in Bristol as they have been hit by the aforementioned peephole video scandal, which their own sister network claims might have been an inside job [Ed. Note: Can ESPN sue its parent company?],  and the Ben Roethlisberger fiasco where they waited several days to announce the news that one of the most recognizable athletes in America had a sexual assault charge filed against him. Perhaps the most interesting story out of Bristol this week was that ESPN had decided to blacklist all New York Post staff members from appearing on any ESPN or any of their outlets after the Post ran screencaps of the infamous videos that left little to the imagination. On a basic visceral level, most people would agree to ESPN’s decision as they would  be disgusted by the decision of the Post brain trust to run the screencaps.

hypocrisy meter

The situation becomes a little more dicey when 2 other major media outlets (CBS and FOX News) decided to show the actual clips on their news broadcasts. If the front office people at ESPN actually had a policy or stance regarding the use of these illegally filmed clips, they should have taken a similar stance against CBS and FOX staff members. This raises an interesting question: Why did ESPN single out the New York Post? While some may argue that it was the way the Post utilized the images, we find that rather hard to believe. Although CBS and FOX were not as sensational in their presentation of the clips as the Post was they are in fact doing the same thing–using the illegal footage to try and further their story. For our money, there is a simple answer as to why ESPN singled out the Post staff members for their blacklist–because they can.

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Rating the Sweet Sixteen Announcers

Posted by jstevrtc on March 26th, 2009

John Stevens is a featured writer for Rush The Court.

It looks like CBS has made its selections and placements for the Sweet 16 announcing crews.  I think this is important for a couple of reasons; first, because we got us some heavyweights going at it this weekend and these matchups deserve top-drawer announcers; and second, because when you consider some of the tournament’s great moments, the announcing calls are just as much a part of the history as the actual visual images.  It’s good to have the big boys behind the mics in case a legendary event happens.  That said, let’s take a look at, and rate, the pairings.

The New #1 Crew
The New #1 Crew (image credit: daylife.com)

SOUTHJim Nantz (pbp) and Clark Kellogg (color)
Games:  North Carolina v. Gonzaga and Syracuse v. Oklahoma (Friday)
Grade:  C+

This is the premiere crew, as CBS would have you believe.  I give this pairing a C+ because I think these two gentlemen are still working on their rhythm with Kellogg having taken over the seat previously occupied by Billy Packer.  Jim Nantz, despite being one of the consensus nice guys in television and a man who has more than put in his time as far as being a basketball announcer, has just never done it for me as a play-by-play man.  He’s always struck me as a big-picture, in-the-studio guy, the captain of the whole ship.  I have nothing against Kellogg or Nantz as individuals, but because they’re still feeling each other out this late in the year, I don’t think it’s the “premiere,” automatic, Final Four crew any more.  Plus, Syracuse v. Oklahoma is going to be an absolute war, and I think it’s a game that’s just tailor-made for Gus Johnson at the play-by-play mic, or Raftery doing color, or — God help us all — both.

Lundquist and Raf. (image credit: ning.com)

EAST Verne Lundquist (pbp) and Bill Raftery (color)
Games:  Pittsburgh v. Xavier and Villanova v. Duke (Thursday)
Grade:  B

I’ll admit, there’s really no reason to give this pairing anything other than an ‘A’ except for my own sour grapes.  I always loved the pairing of Lundquist with Len Elmore.  Plus, if CBS reunited them, it could slide Raftery over to the seat next to Gus Johnson and blow the speakers out of your television.  Both Lundquist and Raftery still give me the impression that they’re still amazed to be getting paid for doing this for a living, and when that comes through, it always enhances my enjoyment of a game they’re calling.  Especially Raf.  Those tag-lines that we all know — “The Kiss!” or “A little lingerie, Mr. Lundquist!” or “Onions!!” — just never get old to me.  Also, if a legendary moment presents itself, you know neither of these guys is going to drop the ball.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.08.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 8th, 2009

dynamiteWe are finally here. Today is the last day of the college basketball regular season. What’s that? St. Mary’s didn’t get the memo? Ok, after today 99.99999% of the programs will be done with the regular season. After we attempted to write the college basketball version of War and Peace for yesterday’s Boom Goes the Dynamite, we get a little break as there aren’t quite as many high quality games today, but the ones that we do have look like they will be pretty entertaining. Here are the games that we will be following today:

  • Noon: #20 Purdue at #8 Michigan State on CBS
  • 2 PM: Virginia Tech at #24 FSU on Raycom, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN360.com
  • 2:05 PM: Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa on CBS
  • 3 PM: Old Dominion vs. Virginia Commonwealth on Comcast, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN360.com
  • 4 PM: #7 Duke at #2 UNC on CBS
  • 5 PM: Northwestern at Ohio State on The Big Ten Network
  • 6 PM: #19 Clemson at #10 Wake Forest on FSN
  • 6 PM: College of Charleston vs. Davidson on SportsSouth and ESPN360.com

There are a couple of big story lines here. Outside of the obvious ones happening in Chapel Hill (Tyler Hansbrough‘s last game in the Dean Dome, UNC’s quest for a #1 seed, Duke’s last gasp effort for a #1 seed, and all the injuries including the under-reported–not by RTC–injury to Ty Lawson), we’ll be looking in on East Lansing where the Spartans will be looking to solify a #2 seed (forget all the talk about them getting a #1–not happening), Saint Louis where the Missouri Valley will award a ticket to the NCAA tournament, and Chattanooga where Stephen Curry and his Davidson teammates will be battling for their NCAA tournament lives as they will not get in if they don’t win their conference tournament.

There are also some great games out in Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference tournament with Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara, which will be featured as our RTC Live event, that will be followed by Saint Mary’s vs. Portland (aka “The Return of Patty Mills“). Unfortunately, that’s past my bedtime on the East Coast (tips at 9:30 and 11:30 PM ET respectively) although if you’re really nice you might be able to talk rtmsf into staying up late for you since he’s on the West Coast.

11:30 AM: It looks like we only have 2 games (Purdue-Michigan State and AlabamaTennessee) worthy watching in the noon time slot. Unfortunately, they’re both on CBS so most of the nation will only be able to follow one on television. Luckily, I’m getting the better of the two games (Purdue-Michigan State), but I will be following the game in Knoxville on GameCast as well. If any of you are in Tennessee or Alabama, feel free to send in your thoughts in the comment section so the rest of us will know what’s going on in the game beyond the box score.

While we’re waiting, I wanted to pass along a photo I found on Deadspin this morning featuring Erin Andrews, who found something in Freedom Hall a little disturbing (probably Rick Pitino‘s yelling).

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.01.09 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 1st, 2009

dynamiteWell it’s finally here. The month of March is upon us. Here at RTC, we’ll be coming up with a ridiculous number of posts (I’m not sure how we will be able to do it with our other “lives”) so be sure to check back throughout the month as we will have posts for conference recaps, our unique bubble watch, frequent bracket updates by our resident bracketologist Zach, our favorite NCAA tournament memories, and the most comprehensive NCAA tournament preview anywhere. Ever.

11:00 AM: Just to set the table for today (and before I run out to grab some lunch before the games start), we’ll be following all three of the major games today, which will all be on CBS. At noon, Dominic James-less #10 Marquette will travel to #6 Louisville. Then at 2 PM, #8 Missouri will travel to Lawrence to take on the defending national champs, #15 Kansas. (CBS will also be airing the Tennessee-Florida game at 2. We will be very unhappy if we end up with that game instead.) The last time these teams met, Missouri shocked the Jayhawks with a Zaire Taylor 10-footer to hand Kansas its only loss in their last 13 games. A win here for Kansas would essentially seal the Big 12 regular season title for Kansas since they own the tie-breaker over Oklahoma (thanks to Blake Griffin‘s absence). Finally at 4 PM, #9 Michigan State will go to #20 Illinois. Like the preceding game, a win here would essentially clinch the Big 10 regular season title for the Spartans. In addition, we will be following the aforementioned UT-UF game (hopefully online instead of on our TVs) as well as a handful of bubble match-ups (Providence at Rutgers, Cincinnati at Syracuse, Michigan at Wisconsin, and West Virginia at South Florida).

11:50 AM: If any of you are wondering if I might decide to ditch this and go outside to enjoy the beautiful March weather, here’s your answer. On a side note, I just saw myself on ESPN for the second time this season (thanks to the miracle of HD).

11:55 AM: Wow. I just saw the Blake Griffin play from yesterday where we went over the scorer’s table. Pretty impressive after his concussion against Texas.

Noon: CBS just announced they will be have an interview with Jamie Dixon at halftime. So the Pittsburgh fans might want to tune in for that if a top 10 match-up in their own conference wasn’t enough.

12:05 PM: Rick Pitino is wearing his Colonel Sanders suit for the white out. As the CBS guys mentioned, last year he had to switch at halftime. Let’s see if it is more effective this year.

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Your Announcers for Tomorrow

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

Courtesy of Awful Announcing:

2:10 PM tip:
– West Virginia vs. Duke – Craig Bolerjack and Bob Wenzel

4:20/4:40 PM tip:
– Kansas State vs. Wisconsin – Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner
– Purdue vs. Xavier – Craig Bolerjack and Bob Wenzel

6:40/6:45/6:50 PM tip:
– Notre Dame vs. Washington State – Gus Johnson and Len Elmore
– Marquette vs. Stanford – Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas
– Kansas vs. UNLV – Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner

9:10/9:15 PM tip:
– Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh – Gus Johnson and Len Elmore
– UCLA vs. Texas A&M – Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas

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