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ESPN Adds Ten To Bolster College Hoops Coverage

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ESPN networks extensive 2015-16 men’s basketball season coverage is complimented with the addition of six new analysts and four new play-by-play commentators. The new crew join an established line-up of the nation’s leading experts covering approximately 1,200 exclusive games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network and Longhorn Network.

SEC Network

  • Glen “Big Baby” Davis – a Baton Rouge, La. native, “Big Baby” Davis brings a wealth of college and NBA knowledge to SEC Network as a studio analyst. Davis was a McDonald’s All-American that led LSU to its first NCAA Final Four in appearance in 20 years in 2006. He was voted SEC Player of the Year (2006) and went on to play in the NBA for the last eight years, winning an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
  • Andrew DeClercq – a former Florida standout, NBA player and coach, DeClercq joins SEC Network as a game and studio analyst. As a player at Florida, DeClercq was pivotal in the Gator’s first NCAA Final Four appearance (1994) and was drafted by the NBA in 1995. Since retiring in 2005, DeClercq’s focus shifted back to Florida, coaching high school basketball for nationally ranked Montverde Academy and later Foundation Academy.
  • John Pelphrey – a member of the Kentucky basketball Hall of Fame, Pelphrey played and coached basketball in the SEC before joining SEC Network as a game analyst. As a player (1988-1992) Pelphrey is a member of an elite group, coined by Coach Rick Pitino as “the Unforgettables”. He went on to coach at several colleges, including Florida under Coach Billy Donovan – leading the Gators to a National Championship game and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances – and head coach at Arkansas (2007-11).
  • In addition, it was announced earlier that the SEC Network has hired longtime Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers and Tennessee Lady Vols standout Candace Parker as analysts.

ESPNU

  • Antwan Jamison – “North Carolina Mr. Basketball,” Jamison will contribute to ESPNU for the first time this season. Jamison was awarded both the Naismith and Wooden Awards while playing college basketball at UNC and is one of only seven UNC players to have their jersey retired. In addition to All-American and ACC player of the Year awards, he was the fourth overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft. Jamison’s NBA career spanned three decades and included NBA All-Rookie Team, two-time NBA All-Star, NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and playing for the USA National team. Jamison currently contributes to Lakers studio coverage in Los Angeles, and will work select ESPNU games and studio in addition to that role.
  • Jason Capel – also a UNC standout, Capel speaks from a former player and a former coach’s experience. He played basketball at Chapel Hill from 1998 to 2002 and went on to be the Appalachian State Head Coach (2010-2014). Capel also contributes as an analyst for Raycom. His first ESPNU assignment was the UNC at Kentucky alumni game.
  • Chris Spatola – the fifth all-time leading scorer at the United Station Military Academy, Spatola was a four-year starter at West Point (1999-2000) before serving in the Army for five years. After completing his service, he went to work for Duke basketball coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski and was a member of the coaching staff for four ACC tournament title wins and a National Championship.
  • New to ESPN, Ted Emrich, Alex Faust, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jenn Hildreth bring a depth of play-by-play experience to the ESPNU booth. Hildreth will also contribute to SEC Network games.

The season gets underway across networks on Friday, Nov. 13 with an SEC Network doubleheader showcasing Albany at No. 1 Kentucky at 7 p.m., followed by Eastern Washington at Mississippi State at 9 p.m. and an ESPNU doubleheader – an early-round game of the 2K Classic featuring Siena at No. 5 Duke at 7 p.m., followed by McNeese State at LSU.  Game assignments will be announced in the coming week.

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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