SPRINGFIELD, MA - AUGUST 12: Bill Walton makes his way in during the Red Carpet event of the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on August 12, 2011 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
. . Erin AndrewsRonnie Lott. Now Bill Walton! These are the new faces of Pac-12 sports coverage. As Bill would say, "THIS IS A TRIUMPH OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION!"
But this season he'll call ESPN Pac-12 games as ESPN — through a new deal — expands its coverage of the league. Walton also will join the conference's soon-to-launch regional network. He'll also return for occasional Sacramento Kings local game broadcasts.
Walton's back still isn't in great shape, so I doubt he'll travel too much. It remains to be seen if Walton will be part of a lead number one announcing team or will primarily stick to regional telecasts. If he goes regional, I would imagine Walton would primarily call games in the California markets (Bay Area and Los Angeles) and primarily his alma mater of UCLA hoops.
For those of you unfamiliar with Walton's broadcasting style, he is hyperbolic and random and unique and so, so great. I cannot wait for him to describe Solomon Hill as "one of the purest Archimedean solids this nation has ever seen hold a basketball", or bemoaning someone on Washington to "please try a layup", or discussing the lost art of the post-entry pass.
Exchange between Bill and Tom Hammond: "John Stockton is one of the true marvels, not just of basketball, or in America, but in the history of Western Civilization!" Tom: "Wow, that’s a pretty strong statement. I guess I don’t have a good handle on world history." Bill: "Well Tom, that’s because you didn’t go to UCLA."
It's good for the Pac-12 to lock down some of the more notable names in broadcasting. It gives them some visible faces that college football and basketball fans are all familiar with watching on TV for the past decade or so, and even though it won't seismically shift TV ratings for the conference, it can't hurt the overall visibility of the conference.
All they need is to add the acerbic Snapper Jones to shoot down all of Walton's outlandish quotes and the reunion will be complete.