Duke legend and former NBA All-Star Grant Hill has received one of the ultimate honors in sports broadcasting: He will call this year’s Final Four along with Bill Raftery, Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson.
Hill, as you can imagine, is stoked for the opportunity – even though it certainly requires some leg work ahead of time.
“I feel like I’m back in school cramming, studying for a test,” Hill said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones, “But I’m excited. I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of March Madness.”
And by that, Hill means he won two national championships at Duke, was ACC Player of the Year and was named a consensus first-team All-American.
“I’ve been a fan (of college basketball for a long time),” the 42-year-old Hill said. “First game was ’82, Georgetown/North Carolina, and I’ve continued as my career is over to be a fan and to take part in it. I’m excited. The goal and the objective is (to) know everybody’s name (the first night of the tournament). It’ll be fun. The stories, the upsets, the great moments – all that happens every year, no matter what, no matter who’s in it. And I look forward to watching and being a part of it this year.”
Hill had mixed feelings when he was approached about calling the Final Four. He was excited, of course, but that excitement came with a bit of trepidation.
“I was a little nervous,” Hill admitted. “But in the words of the great urban philosopher Charles Barkley, ‘It’s just basketball.’ And that’s what Raftery says: ‘It’s just basketball.’ So yeah, I’m excited. And those guys are so genuine. They’re team guys. They’re excited to have me aboard. So they’ve made the transition, the adjustment, very comfortable for me and I’m looking forward to it. We’ve been talking about it. I wish the games started tomorrow. Well, actually, I don’t – because I’m not quite ready yet. But I will be.”
Given Hill’s storied college career and his passion for the game, it’ll be difficult to harness his excitement when the semifinals roll around April 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“That’s a good point,” Hill said. “I know last year I did studio work and I was part of the studio team that was at the Final Four, so it conjured up a lot of memories. You walk in there, you see teams run out there, you’re at the practice the day before, the media session – you start remembering things that you hadn’t really thought of in a long time. It’s like a certain song or a certain smell. It brings back memories. Well, being there – and being there on the floor, center court, best seat in the house – yeah, I’m sure it’ll bring back feelings and emotions that I haven’t experienced since I was there over 20 years ago. So hopefully it won’t be too distracting and I’ll be able to focus and concentrate and do my job.”