Elmore's a keen analyst, minus the scream


A few short takes while digging out Super Bowl Cheez-Its from between couch pillows:

* He doesn't scream as loudly as Dick Vitale -- of course, short of Sam Kinison, who does? -- but Len Elmore is deserving of more attention as a college basketball analyst. Take Wednesday night, for instance. At the end of the Duke-Georgia Tech game on ESPN, Vitale was emoting on the wonderful play of Bobby Hurley and Thomas Hill to set up Hill's game-winning, last-second basket inside the lane. Meanwhile, on the Jefferson-Pilot telecast, Elmore was pointing out the defensive lapse by Tech's Jon Barry in allowing Hill to establish position so near the basket.

* Prime Network is planning to offer a sports news service this year. It sounds similar to the Mizlou Sports News Network, which folded late last year. Because Home Team Sports has become a Prime affiliate, Prime Sports News probably will show up on local television, perhaps the way SportsChannel America's "Sports Nightly" previously appeared on HTS.

* ESPN's Chris Berman was named National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association for the second consecutive year, beating out ABC's Al Michaels and NBC's Bob Costas. Maybe it was Berman's Bud Bowl work that turned the trick. Berman certainly is a capable, funny announcer, and it's very nice that he's getting another award, but does anyone really think he's a better broadcaster than Michaels and Costas?

* Tom Davis of HTS, WQSR, "Sports Beat," "Braase, Donovan and Fans," car commercials, supermarket openings and bull roasts has been named Maryland Sportscaster of the Year by the same group. Davis previously won the award in 1978, '84, '85 and '89.

* Phil Wood remains without a place to park his microphone since WYST-AM knocked him -- and the rest of its AM programming -- off the air with the flick of a switch to FM simulcasting. Wood said this week that he doesn't have a new radio job in sight and is considering leaving broadcasting. He said much the same thing after his sports talk show sank in the financial quicksand that once existed at WCBM. But he wound up back on the air that time, and let's hope he gets back again. There always should be room on the dial for a knowledgeable, engaging sports talk host.

* NBC starts its real National Basketball Association season Sunday with a doubleheader -- Phoenix Suns-Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls-Los Angeles Lakers -- preceded by "NBA Showtime" (12:30 p.m., channels 2, 4).

* Some Super Bowl leftovers (beyond those Cheez-Its): An "I Love New York" commercial was followed immediately by another ad in which someone said, "I love steak." All you need is love. . . . The best moment of the pre-game show may have been Beth Ruyak's feature on New York Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler, in which it was revealed his scrambling ability dates to his days dodging hens while collecting eggs on the family farm. . . . You think we'd have seen such an extensive discussion of the World League of American Football if it were going to be carried by CBS or NBC? . . . There was that little Brent Musburger aside in the pre-game, coming out of a feature on football manufacturing: "You never know in this business when you're going to need a job." . . . ABC's super slow-motion is so good, it nearly looks like NFL Films footage. . . . Never again should anyone other than Ray Charles be forced to repeat the Diet Pepsi phrase, "You've got the right one, baby, uh-huh." Michaels barely retained his dignity while uttering the words.

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