Dick Vitale and the Top 20 Announcers in College Basketball

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2011

Dick Vitale and the Top 20 Announcers in College Basketball

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Dick Vitale may be the most well-known announcer who calls college basketball games, but he's not the sport's only great voice. 

    The players on the court may provide the bulk of the entertainment during any given game, but it's the announcers who bring the game to life. 

    Their excitement and thoughtful insight really helps viewers remain engaged throughout the contest. A boring pair of announcers can make even the most exciting game seem, well, boring. 

    So with that in mind, read on for the top 20 announcers in this wonderful sport. 

Stephen Bardo

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    Because of his basketball background, you can be assured that Stephen Bardo knows what he's talking about. Then, because of the fact that he serves as a motivational speaker, you can be sure that he knows how to deliver his message. 

    Bardo played for the Illinois Fighting Illini and had the pleasure of appearing in the 1989 Final Four as a shooting guard. He was good enough to make it to the NBA, but he never did anything much after being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1990. 

    He's worked for both CBS and the Illini Sports Network and now serves as a color analyst for ESPN. The eloquence with which he speaks guarantees him a spot on this list. 

Jay Bilas

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    Jay Bilas became relevant in the basketball world when he spent four years at Duke, scoring over 1,000 points and even making it to the NCAA championship game. 

    He played some professional basketball and then became a coach, but his biggest contribution to the game has been his announcing. 

    Bilas began working for ESPN in 1995 and hasn't looked back since. Between the Bilastrator, Emmy nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Studio Analyst and being named best announcer in college basketball by Sports Illustrated, Bilas is one of the best.  

Dan Bonner

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    Long after he was captain of the Virginia basketball team in 1975, Dan Bonner moved on to become a great college basketball announcer. 

    During his career, he's worked in the booth for CBS Sports, ESPN and Fox Sports among others. His color commentary is always insightful because of the research that he puts into his craft. 

    For proof, just read the following quote, which explains what Bonner does after Selection Sunday: "The Monday after Selection Sunday, I'm scrambling to learn all the teams that I'll have to do later in the week. And then I'm out on the road."

Tim Brando

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    In addition to running a radio show, Tim Brando works as a play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports and Fox Sports. 

    Brando can call almost any sport, but college basketball has always seemed to be his specialty.

    Although he's created some controversy during his career, he's also called some great upsets during the Big Dance. 

    Anyone who's been doing this as long as Brando has must be good. 

Rece Davis

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    The current host of ESPN's College GameDay also calls games for the premier sports network. 

    Rece Davis once said about his job: "I don't think of my job as being hard. I know I'm the luckiest guy around. I get to watch basketball and talk about it.

    "When you never feel as if you go to work, it's really easy and fun to do the homework."

    When you listen to Davis talk about the sport he loves, it isn't difficult to stay engaged, either. A lot of times I watch college basketball on mute so I can work on other things during the game, but I can honestly say I've never done that to Davis. 

Jimmy Dykes

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    Jimmy Dykes joined ESPN back in 1995 and never looked back. He specializes in SEC and ACC games but proves that he knows his stuff while working in the studio. 

    When college basketball isn't in season, Dykes spends his time giving motivational speeches. It's very clear that he's comfortable talking to, or at, people. 

    Dykes played college basketball at Arkansas under Eddie Sutton and then moved on to coach at Arkansas, Appalachian State, Kentucky, Arkansas-Little Rock and Oklahoma State.

Len Elmore

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    Len Elmore is now in his eighth year as a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He also calls tournament games for CBS.

    He uses remarkable intelligence and basketball knowledge to make him the best announcer he can possibly be. Elmore received a J.D. from Harvard and once worked as an assistant district attorney in New York.

    Elmore also graduated from Maryland and remains the school's all-time leading rebounder. He's been called one of the top 50 players in ACC basketball history.  

Dick Enberg

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    Dick Enberg may be done calling college basketball games, but I wanted to include him on this list because he's an announcing legend. 

    More famous for his exploits in the world of tennis and baseball, Enberg dabbled in the game of college basketball and was a joy to listen to. 

    With his signature "Oh, my!" Enberg provided countless memorable broadcasts and always seemed to tell heart-warming stories about the players and teams.

    He signed off from college basketball broadcasting after the 2010 NCAA Tournament for the last time. 

    The game will miss him. 

Fran Fraschilla

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    A game analyst for ESPN, Fran Fraschilla would undoubtedly be called a college basketball expert. 

    He's a former head coach at the college level, he's considered an NBA Draft specialist and he hates the Big Ten. 

    Instead of focusing on the conference whose play he considers to be like watching paint dry, Fraschilla instead works Big 12 games more than any other. 

    Since he's worked with Rick Barnes before when they were both at Providence, he also has a bit of a pro-Texas bias. Can't complain about that. 

Doug Gottlieb

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    Yet another college basketball analyst for ESPN, Doug Gottlieb's basketball career is marred by a few scandals.

    In college at Notre Dame, he stole some credit cards from his roommate and ran up the bill. He was kicked off the team and moved on to Oklahoma State. 

    After a successful tenure as a Cowboy, he played some professional basketball but never made it to the NBA.

    In his current role, Gottlieb is known for having an ongoing feud with current Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. 

    Don't let all that take away from the great job he does as an analyst, though. 

Gus Johnson

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    Surely, you've heard Gus Johnson yell and scream at some point. 

    There is no announcer in college basketball who is capable of generating more excitement than Johnson. 

    Seriously, just watch the video. 

    I guarantee you'll agree with me. 

Clark Kellogg

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    He may have lost to President Obama, but that doesn't make him a bad announcer. 

    Clark Kellogg, affectionately known as Special K, is currently the lead college basketball analyst for CBS Sports. 

    He started working for ESPN in 1990 and quickly become popular enough to start working the NCAA Tournament for CBS in 1994.

    After doing his time and proving himself to everyone, Kellogg took over Billy Packer's job as the lead analyst for his network in 2008. 

    He deserves the job. 

Bob Knight

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    Bob Knight is one of those announcers you either love or hate. There's really no middle ground. 

    He can still be fiery, but his knowledge about the game is very fine-tuned from his years on the bench.

    Personally, I love listening to Knight provide insight into ESPN broadcasts of college basketball games. 

    Just listen to the way that he breaks down Stephen Curry's game, back when the current Golden State Warrior was tearing opponents apart at Davidson. 

Verne Lundquist

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    Doesn't the man who called Christian Laettner's shot have to be on here?

    Verne Lundquist has yelled "How do you do?" for so many years now. He started his broadcasting career calling Dallas Cowboys games way back in 1967 and now covers virtually every sport there is. 

    But his two best have to be college football and college basketball. Working for CBS now, Lundquist is even a play-by-play announcer in some video games. His voice is just perfect for what he does. 

Dan McLaughlin

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    Dan McLaughlin is without a doubt the least-known announcer on this list. 

    He started doing sports broadcasts while still a student at Lindenwood University and now primarily works for Fox Sports covering the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. 

    McLaughlin, though, also covers the occasional college basketball game for ESPNU and he does a fantastic job.

    I wish he would start getting some bigger assignments. 

Brent Musberger

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    Brent Musberger has called NBA, MLB, NFL, college football and college basketball games. 

    The man who coined the term "March Madness" was the top CBS broadcaster in the late 1980s but he was dismissed from the station after the 1990 national championship. 

    He immediately moved on and started calling college basketball games at ABC and he has continued to do a fantastic job. 

    Musberger calls his listeners "folks" or "partner" and loves to punctuate his staccato speech with plenty of exaggerations to make the big moments even bigger. 

Jim Nantz

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    "Hello friends." 

    Is any phrase used by an announcer on a consistent basis more well-known that Jim Nantz's sign-on to every broadcast?

    In my opinion, Nantz's best work is done when he does the broadcasts of the Masters, but there's a reason that he's been the lead CBS play-by-play guy since 1990.

    The man has such an incredible voice for calling action.  

Brad Nessler

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    NCAA March Madness, a video game series produced by EA Sports, uses Brad Nessler's voice during the virtual games. That should say it all. 

    Nessler began calling college basketball games in 1980 when he shared the Georgia Tech play-by-play duties with Al Ciraldo. 

    Eventually, he became good enough to be picked up by ESPN and ABC and hasn't done anything else since.

    Nessler currently works Super Tuesday SEC games and the big contests that happen to fall on Saturdays. 

Dan Shulman

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    Dan Shulman currently serves as ESPN's play-by-play announcer for both the NBA and college basketball. His partner is Dick Vitale. That fact alone should be enough to guarantee him a spot here. 

    He's even gotten very close to the action before. On March 14, 2010, Kyle Singler crashed into Shulman after jumping over the announcer's table to save a loose ball for his Duke Blue Devils. 

    Shulman remains one of the few men to take a charge while announcing a game. 

    His play-by-play calls are good enough to make him the lead guy at ESPN, and he has to keep Vitale in check while focusing on the game. 

    That's pretty impressive. 

Dick Vitale

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    Love him or hate him, baby, there is no denying the fact that Dick Vitale possesses a voice that is more associated with college basketball than any other. 

    With his unrelenting enthusiasm and use of his own catchphrases, baby, Vitale brings life to even the most boring contest between two collegiate basketball programs. 

    Seriously, he could find a way to make a game between 4-23 Southern and 0-28 Centenary into an entertaining two hours, baby. 

    Some people may dislike him because of his perceived Duke homerism, baby, but he's still made college basketball one of the most popular sports in the country.