[This is an ongoing EJSIC series leading up to the new college hoops season. ESPN broadcaster Mike Patrick was featured in Volume 1, while former broadcasting great Billy Packer shared his views in Volume 2.]
Howdy basketball lovers, Jimmy Dykes here to kick off the college basketball season. If you’ve watched me on ESPN of late, you’ll know that I’m bringing fresh perspective to college basketball commentary. I think sports commentary should be a lot of fun, and maybe even informative. Look, I’m a fairly young guy, and I know I don’t know everything there is to know about this crazy little thing we call broadcasting. When I first came to ESPN, I looked around and soon figured out that Dick Vitale was the hottest thing going. He’s the best, so I tried to emulate him while still putting my own fresh spin on things. (“Dykin’ it up”, as I like to call it.)
I listened to Dick talk about Derek Jeter and Notre Dame and Mike Krzyzewski during all his broadcasts, and I realized something. The ESPN college basketball viewers really like to be educated and entertained by the on-air talent, rather than listen to mundane details such as “what is the score?” or “who has the ball?” or “what are the names of the teams playing?” These are sophisticated viewers!
To that end, recently you may have enjoyed watching me pour chemicals into beakers while wearing a labcoat, in order to illustrate the various components needed for postseason success. And I’m sure you loved last season when I cleverly grouped college basketball teams into tiers by making an analogy to the various seating areas on an airplane. I know what you’re thinking. “That’s so obvious! How didn’t anyone make the connection between basketball teams and airline passenger logistics before now?” Hey, I guess I just got lucky there. That segment was a real classic, and I really felt that the viewers connected with it, but I don’t want it to grow stale.
In order to keep moving forward, and as part of my contribution to EJSIC’s excellent college basketball experts preview series, I’d like to unveil my newest “bit” or “shtick”, although as a serious broadcast professional, I hate both those terms. I was thinking about how this season is perhaps the most wide-open field for National Player of the Year I can remember. So during my in-game commentary, I want to do a sort of a “ranking” of the contenders for this prestigious award. But rather than just give you a list of leading hopefuls and respect you enough to do your own thinking, and develop informed opinions, I want to do something else. I want to spice things up a bit.
Allow me to introduce the Jimmy Dykes Scoville Scale Model (JDSSM). For those of you who don’t watch the Food Network, the Scoville Scale measures the heat and intensity of chili peppers, based on capsaicin levels. The higher the Scoville number, the more fiery the pepper. So I will rank the 2009-2010 NPOY candidates based on their level of “heat”, if you will. For instance, right now, Duke’s Kyle Singler is a known quantity on a very good team, and therefore might be considered a Thai pepper, which is pretty darn spicy. On the other hand, someone like incoming Kentucky freshman phenom John Wall might be only a Serrano chili at this point. But that’s still pretty hot, folks! Stay tuned this season and find out who will be crowned this season’s Naga Jolokia pepper!
I’d like to also go ahead and include my Final Four predictions:
- Kentucky (national champion)
Well that’s all for me now, folks. I look forward to seeing you out on the trail. And remember, don’t throw any High School Harry passes!