Ranking the top five announcers in college hoops

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons | ESPN broadcaster and former Duke basketball player Jay Bilas continues to be one of the best analysts that the arena of sports announcing offers.


With a collision of intertwining sporting events all happening at once, fans nationwide will begin the yearly talk of who their favorite announcer is. The sports broadcasting scene contains a wide variety of personalities, from the likes of the 6-11 Hall of Famer Bill Walton to the golden voice of Gus Johnson, whose “Crawford’s gotta hurry” line in the 2010 Sweet Sixteen game against Kansas State remains engraved in the hearts of Xavier fans worldwide.

Here is a look at some of the best voices in sports:

5. Dick Vitale

Some may know Dick Vitale through his coaching career, which started at the elementary school level in Garfield, N.J., and continued all the way to the NBA as a head coach for the Detroit Pistons. Vitale is distinguished by his enthusiastic voice, which brightens the worlds of college basketball fans across the globe. Vitale uses his past experiences and passion for the game to deliver an analysis of the game that fans admire. Vitale is rarely heard without a positive attitude and continues to inspire young hoops fans through each game he calls. Vitale frequently combines sayings such as “Diaper Dandy,” “PTPer” and sometimes “He’s awesome, baby, with a capital A” to describe players who play at a high level. Vitale, 79, has been with ESPN since 1979. He may be in his last couple years on the job, and college basketball fans must enjoy and admire each call left in his storied career.

4. Clark Kellogg

CBS personality Clark Kellogg is one of the most accredited announcers there is. When it comes to experience in basketball, few live up to the resume that Kellogg has built for himself. He spent three years at Ohio State before becoming the eighth overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft. Kellogg averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds with the Indiana Pacers before knee injuries cut his career short. Kellogg began his career in broadcasting in 1990 and has run with it ever since. Kellogg’s experience in the game provides top-class analysis that has been demonstrated in multiple national championships, selection shows and even the NBA 2K video game franchise.

3. Gus Johnson

Gus Johnson may have the most unique voice in all of college sports. Currently working for Fox Sports calling many Big East games, Johnson provides an energy to the game that is unmatched. He provides a passion for his job that few have seen before in any host in the history of sports. While Johnson has made a name for himself calling regular season college  basketball games, in Madden 11 and in college football, many people know of Johnson for his calls during  March Madness. Johnson has a knack for making an ordinary regular season game seem like a Final Four game no matter who is playing. The Big East must enjoy the greatness while it lasts, because as long as Gus Johnson is calling the games, life is good.

2. Bill Raftery

You cannot have a list of great announcers without having Bill Raftery on the list. The game of basketball would not be close to what it is today without Bill Raftery. He has bettered the game of basketball. The former Seton Hall head coach has served more than 30 years as a play-by-play announcer with CBS Sports. While watching a game you may hear Raftery utter, “Send it in to the Big Fella!, ”“Onions” when someone splashes a 3-ball or “With the blow by” when someone scoots past a defender. However, Raftery is most known for his famous line, “Send it in Jerome!” after Jerome Lane of Pittsburgh shattered the backboard in 1988. While Raftery, 75, continues to grow older, the magic of his voice stays the same. There is no greater icon in basketball broadcasting right now than Bill Raftery. College basketball fans must enjoy each and every game Raftery has left on the call because he has once-in-a-lifetime talent.

1. Jay Bilas

Jay Bilas is the best college basketball announcer in the game right now. The Duke product has an absurd amount of knowledge of the game. After a stint of playing professional basketball overseas, Bilas coached with Mike Krzyzewski, whom he once played for at Duke. He began his broadcasting career in 1995 with ESPN and has since climbed his way to being ESPN’s No. 1 analyst. It is not Bilas’ enthusiasm or loud voice that separates him from other announcers. Rather, it is Bilas’ pure knowledge about the game. Bilas is able to simplify the game and relate it to the audience in a way that no other announcer can. Bilas is consistent with his takes on the game. His preparation for each game he calls is shown weekly in the booth on the College Gameday program. Bilas’ unique knowledge and smarts for the game are some of the best there are right now — don’t expect that to change anytime soon.


By: Clay Merk | Guest Writer