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Q&A: Jalen Rose

Mike Monaco | Friday, February 8, 2013


Having been a part of the ‘Fab Five’ and you made a big impact as a freshman, do you think it’s easier or harder today to come in right away – you’ve got the ‘one-and-dones’ – and make that big impact?

It’s much easier. Here’s why. Because you don’t have established juniors and seniors taking up all of the minutes, that have made all-conference teams that have taken teams to the NCAA tournament, to the Elite 8s and the Final Fours and being drafted into the lottery. Most of those players leave after the first or second year so that’s the big change in collegiate sports. The Big Ten is back this year and playing at a high level. It’s great to see Michigan and Indiana playing the way they’re playing but when I was in the Big Ten we went to Indiana and it was Bobby Knight and Calvin Cheaney, Alan Henderson. When we went to Purdue it was Glenn Robinson. When we went to Wisconsin it was Michael Finley. Minnesota it was Voshon Leonard. Ohio State it was Jimmy Jackson so the game has changed without the junior and senior-laden teams and the players that really just come in and make that quality impact.

What do you think of the big games recently for Michigan, going up against Ohio State and Michigan? What do you think about how they’ve done reestablishing themselves as an elite program?

Teams are going to have ebbs and flows. It’s hard to determine why a team that for five straight weeks was ranked No. 1 would lose but obviously we’re going to crown a champion this year and I don’t think it’s going to be a team you’re going to make a documentary about in five or 10 years but I do think there’s some very good teams and I wouldn’t be surprised if some unexpected teams make it to the Final Four.

How do you go back-and-forth from doing your NBA coverage with guys like [Bill] Simmons and then coming here to do “GameDay” with a guy like Digger at a place like this?

I’m definitely lucky. Right now I’m on three shows – also Numbers Never Lie, we do that at 2 p.m. eastern every day – and I get a chance to work with my childhood idol Magic Johnson on NBA Countdown with Michael Wilbon … along with Bill Simmons who’s also my boss and my Grantland partner and then come to this show with Jay Bilas and Rece Davis and Digger Phelps, some guys I really respect and have been well-established not only with “College GameDay” but with what they do with multimedia so it’s a lot of homework just like you’ve got to do when you study for a final exam but the fortunate thing for me is I never separated myself from either game. I always continued to follow the college game and always was passionate about the NBA game and so it totally just made sense.