ESPN is reloading its college basketball coverage with some very big names.
The network announced Monday that Tom Crean, John Thompson III, Jimmy Dykes, Caron Butler, and Robbie Hummel will all join as analysts for the upcoming season. Thompson, Butler, and Hummel will serve as game analysts, while Crean and Dykes will primarily work out of the studio.
Quick bios of ESPN’s new quintet:
- Crean is coming off 18 consecutive seasons on the sideline, as coach of Marquette and Indiana. He led the Golden Eagles to the Final Four in 2003 and won two Big Ten regular-season titles with the Hoosiers. He was fired from Indiana in March after falling short of the NCAA Tournament. His hire at ESPN was easy to foresee, given that he joined the network’s Final Four coverage earlier this year.
Thompson spent 13 seasons as Georgetown’s head coach before being firing in March. He reached eight NCAA Tournaments and won three Big East regular-season titles. Broadcasting runs in the family nearly as much as coaching, as his father John Thompson has long called the Final Four for Westwood One, among other broadcast gigs
- Butler played at UConn from 2001-03 (leading the Huskies to the Elite 8), before enjoying a 14-year NBA career that earned him two All-Star berths. At ESPN, he’ll help replace his former college coach, Jim Calhoun, who recently took a job coaching a Division III program in West Hartford, Connecticut.
- Hummel starred at Purdue from 2007-12, in a highly productive (though injury-interrupted) career that saw him average 10-plus points and six-plus rebounds every season. He was selected in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft and played briefly in Europe before heading overseas.
- Dykes returns to ESPN after a three-year stint coaching the Arkansas women’s team. In the ’80s and ’90s he was an assistant coach in various men’s basketball programs and also worked as a scout for the Seattle SuperSonics. His primary role at ESPN will be on SEC Network.
ESPN always keeps a deep bench in its college sports coverage and cycles through analysts fairly quickly, so it’s no surprise to see them restock. We’ll keep on an eye on the newbies this season to see if anyone stands out as a potential star.