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FOX Unveils Strong College Hoops Lineup

Jason Barrett

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With the college basketball season set to tip off this week, FOX Sports announces its impressive roster of game and studio broadcasters for the 2015-16 season, featuring some of the most recognizable names and voices in the sport. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports President, Production, John Entz.

The inimitable duo of Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery return for their third season as FOX Sports’ lead game announcers, while former UCLA and St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin is a new addition to the network’s college basketball coverage, leading studio analysis and calling select games. Lavin makes his FOX Sports debut Friday, Nov. 13, during studio coverage of college basketball’s opening night on FS1, FS2 and FOX Sports Regional Networks, including halftime of Wagner at St. John’s (6:00 PM ET, FS1) as Chris Mullin coaches his first regular-season game with the Red Storm – the same program Lavin led a season ago.

“We are once again thrilled to have several of the nation’s top broadcasters calling college basketball for FOX Sports this season,” Entz said. “This loaded lineup of game and studio broadcasters brings a wealth of energy and knowledge to our coverage, and we’re looking forward to another season of great games featuring some of the nation’s best coaches and players. We can’t wait to get the season started, and we look forward to seeing who’s going to cut down the nets in March.”

Rob Stone returns as FOX Sports’ lead college basketball studio host and is joined by analysts Lavin, Jim Jackson and Donny Marshall at the desk.

Jackson, a two-time All-American at Ohio State and 14-year NBA veteran, also calls select games and contributes to NBA coverage in what is now a full-time role with FOX Sports after serving the network in similar roles each of the last two seasons. Now based in Los Angeles, Jackson also appears regularly on FS1 signature studio programs THE HERD WITH COLIN COWHERD and FOX SPORTS LIVE.

Kevin Burkhardt, Mike Hill, Ryan Field and Greg Wolf also serve as hosts for select college basketball studio programming throughout the season.

In addition to pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, FOX Sports’ college basketball studio programming is enhanced with INSIDE THE BIG EAST, FS1’s weekly show dedicated to the latest news and stories in the conference, which returns with the start of league play in January. FOX Sports takes its college basketball studio on the road multiple times this season, beginning with the Gavitt Tipoff Games Nov. 17-19. FOX Sports also has a live studio presence at New York’s Madison Square Garden for the entire BIG EAST Tournament, March 9-12, and in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Arena for FS1’s coverage of the Pac-12 Tournament March 10-12.

In addition to its robust studio lineup, FOX Sports welcomes back several familiar and iconic voices to call game action. Led by the Johnson and Raftery, game broadcasters Joe Davis, Tim Brando, Justin Kutcher, Brian Anderson and Kevin Kugler return to FOX Sports this season, while veteran play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo is new to the network’s hoops coverage. Lavin, Jackson and Marshall serve as game and studio analysts and are joined by a host of other top voices including Stephen Bardo, Nick Bahe, Jim Spanarkel, Tarik Turner, Ron Thompson and Dickey Simpkins. In addition to Lavin, play-by-play announcer Aaron Goldsmith and analysts Sean Elliott and Casey Jacobsen return to lead FS1’s Pac-12 coverage.

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Pedro Martinez: ‘Never Imagined’ TV Career

“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”

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As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.

When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.

“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”

A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.

“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.

“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”

He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.

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Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Malika Andrews

On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.

“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” 

Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.

“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”

Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.

“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”

Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.

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Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”

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Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.

“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.

Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.

“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”

FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.

Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”

He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.

Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.

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