Welcome Back, Marv

There are precious few occasions in a person’s life where they can distinctly recall the exact details of a particular moment.

For college basketball fans it’s a half court shot, game winning jumper or an untimely time out.

In this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, those moments will become legendary simply because of the man making the calls.

Welcome back to the NCAA Mr. Marv Albert.

Albert will be calling the play-by-play for the 2011 NCAA Tournament for Turner Sports alongside former Chicago Bulls Champion and NCAA tournament participant Steve Kerr.

After decades of covering the greatest basketball players in the world in the NBA how does a veteran like Albert make the adjustment to the college level?

He does what all the kids are doing.

“I’m so proud I can actually watch the games on my iPhone,” laughed Albert. “I actually had to ask Steve (Kerr) how it works.”

His veteran status also helps his cause, especially in the laid back college atmosphere.

“The great advantage over the NBA is being able to go to practice,” said Albert. “To me it was always very, very helpful to sit through the practice in terms of recognition of who the players are. To be able to sit down and talk to people, that’s critical.”

There’s no doubt with Albert calling names like BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, UConn,’s Kemba Walker and Temple‘s own Juan Fernandez up until this years Sweet 16, players will be getting a little more recognition than usual.

But this isn’t the first time Albert has brought to light the stars of the future.

“Of course I called Michael Jordan back during the ’84 season,” recalls Albert. Fittingly enough, Albert would be the voice for Jordan’s biggest moments throughout his miraculous career.

After Albert went full time broadcasting in the NBA, he couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to continue to define, like only he can do, the biggest moments on the tournament stage.

“To me, it would be the Grant Hill pass to Christian Laettner,” Albert said with a pause. “I mean…wow. There’s others but not on the stage of Laettner.”

Laettner’s buzzer-beater to shock Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional Finals at the Philadelphia Spectrum is probably one of those rare moments, at least to Duke fans.

Imagine if Albert made that call. Wow is right.

“The Spectrum is a great place. It’s sad to see it go. So much history there. The new place, whatever it’s called now, not so much.”

He noted there’s only one place that might just be the Spectrum’s match.

“I remember calling games at the Palestra and it was great how we were right there. The crowd was right on top of us. The players, the coaches, everything is right there and we were in the middle of it all.”

If you’ve ever been to the Palestra on the University of Penn’s campus you know the feeling. Essentially, it’s and over crowded, fire hazardous, high-schoolish gym.

“Philadelphia is a great basketball city especially in the Chaney days,” said Albert. “Even now, Temple has a great program with all that Fran Dunphy has done. And with Jay (Wright) at Villanova, everyone — media and fans — seems to love him.”

Most Americans may not know bracketology 101 but know this, Marv Albert knows his basketball and he knows it well.

So who or what will Albert deem the spine-tingling worthy moment in this year’s NCAA tourney?

Only his voice will tell.


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