Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Can NBA voices talk college hoops?
TNT’s announcing stars are NBA-centric, but they insist their undergraduate playing experiences and interest in the college game will make for an easy transition to the NCAAs.
“It gives us a chance to go back and relive our youth, to feel that excitement these kids feel,” said Reggie Miller, a former UCLA Bruin. “It’s going to be fun.”
Steve Kerr might be under the most scrutiny, given his new role as an analyst alongside CBS’ Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg for the Final Four.
To prepare, he has worked a number of college games, especially in the Pac-10.
“It’s not that hard; it’s still basketball,” he said. Veteran analysts have told him the first few days of the NCAAs are most difficult because of a lack of familiarity with some teams.
Kerr even consulted with his most prominent predecessor, long-time CBS analyst Billy Packer, who has criticized the plan to use NBA announcers.
“It wasn’t a personal thing,” Kerr said. “He couldn’t have been more gracious and helpful.”
Studio analyst Charles Barkley said he has watched a lot of college games but added there are limits.
“I’m not going to watch a hundred college basketball teams play; that’s ----,” he said. “I’ve probably watched 30 or 40 teams play. For the rest, I’ll have to ask my college coaching friends and other analysts who’ve seen them.”