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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.

Sports TV News

Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts

“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”

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In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage. 

Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.

“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.

“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”

Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion. 

“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.” 

When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone: 

“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.” 

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Sports TV News

AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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