The University of Washington Huskies have arrived in Las Vegas for the start of the Pac-12 Tournament and despite a difficult season filled with injuries, a COVID-19 disruption, and inconsistent play, the team is finding its chemistry just at the right time to make a run for a championship.
Head Coach Mike Hopkins is reportedly on the hot seat as his team, seeded sixth in the tournament, is set to take on the No. 11 Utah Utes from T-Mobile Arena. Joining Hopkins on the coaching staff for his first season is former NBA forward and All-Pac-10 selection at Washington, Quincy Pondexter. The former first-round pick played in the Association from 2010 to 2019 and had stints with five different teams, including the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls.
Now, though, he is focused on helping elevate the program to be “respectable” on a consistent basis, and that starts with confronting members of the media who speak negatively about the team.
On Tuesday morning, Pondexter was a guest with Chuck and Buck on Seattle Sports Radio 950 KJR, and called out another on-air host on the station for hurting the development of the team and the culture around it.
“I preach positivity, especially from the people in media powers like your guy over there who could really change things around for us,” Pondexter said referring to on-air host Dave “Softy” Mahler, who very much has a love-hate relationship with the team. “If he’s more positive and has our back more than anything, I think we’ll have more fans in the crowd; we’ll have more support, and our guys will feed off of that and play even better.”
Both Chuck Powell and Bucky Jacobsen were able to figure out prior to Pondexter speaking about him who the on-air host was by asking him if the accused’s name rhymed with “Lofty Faller.” Pondexter confirmed that is who he was talking about, leading to Powell declaring that “the word is out now.”
Pondexter addressed Mahler on Twitter before coming on the air after Mahler sent out a Tweet saying, “Before the Pac 12 Tournament starts, how would you grade Mike Hopkins performance this year?” In reply, Pondexter said, “It’s ok for you to show us some love Softy.” He elaborated on his answer on the air when asked by Jacobsen what it was like to turn the season around.
“It’s all about building things, and I think Mike Hopkins is an extremely great coach, and you have two… former [Huskie] players on your staff, and so there is no way to go besides up,” said Pondexter. “Me and Will Conry – we leave it all out there because we love this school; this university; the city more than anything. It’s only going to go up.”
Optimism is surrounding the University of Washington Huskies as they enter the tournament, and Pondexter knows that his experience from both the perspective of a player and a coach will help him be a leader among his players in the quest for a championship. Additionally, it affords him the unique perspective of looking at media criticism in a different scope, seeing what it will do to the entire team rather than how it may affect one player; that is, a part of the whole.
“I’ve been on both sides of this,” said Pondexter. “I’ve won this conference tournament and lasted until the end. The other side is you get eliminated early. You have to have intense focus, take care of business one possession at a time, and leave it all out there on the floor to give yourself the best opportunity… The guys are loving each other, and we don’t want this dance to end.”
Powell encouraged Pondexter, who had evidently perceived a lack of support for his team from certain members of the media, not to take the criticism too seriously ahead of the tournament.
“That guy loves Huskies more than anything,” said Powell in reference to Mahler. “I think more than life itself. Maybe you just caught him [in] a sour mood there.”
Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football
“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”
The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.
“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about:
As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.
“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”
Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan
“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”
John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.
Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.
“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”
Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.
The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.
“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”
Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’
“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.
On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.
“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.
“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”
Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.
The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.
“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”