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Duke produces successful line of ... college basketball analysts

Grant Hill attends Keep a Child Alive’s 10th

Grant Hill attends Keep a Child Alive’s 10th Annual Black Ball on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 in New York. Credit: AP

For all of its on-court success, Duke has a spotty record in producing NBA stars. But there is one post-college career path in which no one can touch Blue Devil alums: analyzing college basketball on TV.

Duke has flooded the market to an extent disproportionate to any statistical expectation, including (among others and in no particular order): Jay Bilas, Grant Hill, Jim Spanarkel, Mike Gminski, Jay Williams and Seth Davis. Only Davis did not play for the Blue Devils.


"It's a good question; I don't have any underlying theory," Spanarkel said. "I think we're all lucky to come from a good school and from different eras . . . I think we're all lucky to participate in a great university's basketball program and most of us spent some time with the academics. I think that helps.

"We don't even have the traditional broadcasting school. My guess is none of them were communications majors."

Said Hill, "We've kind of turned into Broadcast U. It's funny. There's no broadcast program at Duke."

Hill said the exposure of playing at Duke was a huge help.

"I used to have a slight stutter," he said. "I used to lack confidence speaking in front of a large group . . . I was that kid who didn't raise his hand in school, even if I knew the answer, because I was too shy, too embarrassed.

"I think my time in college was a training ground for public speaking . . . Being in school, watching upperclassmen, learning to slow down and just getting reps, you learn how to be confident and articulate your thoughts.

"It's not like Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] does media training. I think it's being on a team that's visible and garners a lot of attention, you're going to get that experience . . . I'm sure he uses that in recruiting."

So, what gives with all the Dukies, CBS Sports chairman and 1977 Duke alum Sean McManus?

"I don't have an explanation for it, I really don't," he said. "We don't take that into account as a factor, obviously, when we're hiring someone . . . It's an interesting phenomenon, but there's just no explanation that I have."


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